“See here,” one poet said, “for beauty’s sake,
I would enslave a thousand listless men,
and though it cause the earth’s deep core to shake,
would carve away the mountains with my pen
that one and all might see as noble truth
a majesty against which swords will fail:
the pure and simple honesty of youth
that conquers all despite seeming so frail.”
“Indeed,” a second poet made reply,
“You might, with that great monumental deed
achieve what heretofore has stayed undone
despite a seeming overwhelming need;
and with a mighty geyser spewing ink
lay waste to man’s vast petty enterprise
that with its many graveyards gives a stink
that leaches into both loved and despised.”
“No matter,” the first poet’s quick retort,
“What form that beauty takes, this much is known:
the fool who finds the chasing merely sport
will find at length, no beauty of their own.
And furthermore, despite the world’s distain,
true love may still play conqueror at last:
what else, pray tell, could lure a world in pain
to soldier on after the die is cast?”
“A vanity,” the other bard rejoins,
“the hope that without fact is false belief,
a wish that mankind’s reason would purloin,
and leave them no real succor or relief.
See here: what good is thinking something so,
if absent evidence, none prove it true?
Youth grows to age, and those who think they know
turn into drooling fools like me and you.”
“But poetry,” the first said in return,
“Is no mere fancy pushed out on the breath;
and though its fire may scald, rather than burn,
its soothing balm may also ward off death.
What harm in that? The world is hard enough
without depriving mankind of some salve
to bind its wounds and smooth away the rough,
the bitter dregs it is our lot to have.”
“Besides, everyone knows the world is pain;
we need no more reminding, everyday,
that loss is the finale of each gain
despite the heavy price there is to pay.
What good is sad complaining about fate,
or moaning on the future’s downward path?
Enjoy the moment, ’til it is too late.
While you still can, find some reason to laugh.”
20 MAR 2017