Sunday, August 31, 2008

(See the cat?)


for my students in Adventures in Great Verse

Since “All the fun’s in how you say a thing,”
As Robert Frost declared about his writing,
Then setting words to verse to make them sing
May prove more apt than prose and more delighting.

The point of verse is not to make a point
Or win an argument by reasoning
But rather play a game (and sometimes punt)
Watching your wit grow sharp with seasoning.

This game of making verse is infinite,
Not played with the intent of simply winning
Nor aimed to end so you might stop and sit,
Since verse once done is only then beginning,

For now it lives in minds and travels far,
Though for the poet it sets higher the bar.



I’m off my course, I’ve gone astray,
It’s time to get me squared away,
So four by four I’ll build my day,
Just as this verse will here display.



The highest urge of our intelligence
Is seeking meaning or else making sense.

The first supposes something’s to be found,
A purpose planted in our being’s ground
That grows into the knowing of each soul
Who searches for what makes it true and whole,
And thus one’s meaning is self-realized.

The other way assumes sense is devised:
That any meaning, purpose, destiny
We come to comprehend in what we see
Are self-determined functions of our wills,
Since we ourselves prescribe our goods and ills.

Here, now, at last, we look for resolution;
This couplet, though, won’t clear up our confusion.



When out of sorts, depressed or just annoyed,
Or facing something he’d as soon avoid,
He found relief whenever he employed
His wit with rhyme, a practice he enjoyed.

He found that when he played with sound and toyed
With random possibilities, it bouyed
His sagging spirits and relieved his cloyed
Distastes: a happier antidote than Freud.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


“And why are riches an embarrassment?”
The unabashed aristocrat protests;
“I take it as a sign that Heaven’s sent
My gorgeous wealth to feather all my nests
And serve as an incentive to the poor,
So once a month I let them take a tour.”



I cannot leave yet, for there’s more to do;
My mark of meaning in this world most grow
To something more remarkable and true
To my own essence, which has still to show.

For is that not the special human lot,
Endowed by our evolving consciousness,
To make increasing sense, our little jot
Of meaning toward the universe’s Yes?

To comprehend the wonder of our being
In the immensity of cosmic space;
To evermore extend our power of seeing
And ultimately know our destined place:

This is the common mission of our breed,
The offspring of a distant stellar seed.



The spaciousness of his sabbatical,
Which seemed an infinite opportunity
For wandering, exploring, growing full
Of wonders and new learning, set him free,
And he ranged widely through all kinds of reading,
As books stacked up around his study chair,
But couldn’t see where his pursuit was leading
Until he sat to write, for only there
Would he gain clarity and make some sense
According to the hunger in his soul
That yearned for comprehensive evidence
The Cosmos has a purpose and a goal
And human beings play a destined part—
Which he found not in books, but in his heart.