Perhaps the world is full of verse that fails,
inspiring none to act as heroes should;
and in frustration, lesser poets rail
against the confine and form of the good,
their self-aggrandized talents gone to waste
that they alone lament through sleepless nights
spent in a fruitless embrace of the chaste.
Would you have these sad wingless souls take flight?
These small words, you decry, may do no more
than taunt at nestlings yet to try their wings,
but to deny that role is to ignore
that first one dreams, and then one does, a thing.
The truest poet weaves philosophy
of the imagination into every phrase;
and in the face of man’s catastrophes
breathes new life into dark and bitter days.
So what if critics jibe and treat with scorn
the works that such a writer may produce?
For they, unlike the poet, are not born
but made – and made to work to prove their use
comparing one illusion to the next,
and in the vacuum of the known, resigned
to observation, that at best, reflects
a too swift movement through their time.
But poets are to blame, as well, for this;
they seek outside themselves for themes and signs,
believing the self-created, wild hubris
they use to justify a state of mind
too pure for common purposes or deeds,
accepting, without question, some great cause
in which they have no role or fate or need
except to garner temporal applause.
10 MAY 2004