Reality is the Irregularity of the Past.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Battle of Poet’s Tree


Bound in ivory, some in gray;

The old in yellowing dress:

They tramped in gaits of paginates,

Imposing grim duress;

It rung us clear, their quiet jeers

Had spoken for our flesh!

With sarcastic wits and wistful whips,

We held back our tears to cry,

For our little Race of scribbling haste

Chose not ourselves to die,

But Time’s little clicks lent closer ticks,

That our grave shall not pass by.

The Pages flipped and stood there crisp

In their ivory clad cloaks,

Staring Blank in an awful shank

That pierced us where it smote,

And the angry stone Medusa shone

Were the Pages’ gaze to note.

Each one bounding, each one counting,

Tempting us to write;

But in each chance we fell entranced,

By their great and perfect light;

For each blank Page had fought with age

To keep us from the Fight.

Irony was on our armor,

In a twist and fancy way

It glints and gleams a crystal sheen,

In a mock of shining Day,

It mocks the Light in leer of Night,

For nighttime’s when We play:

They then advanced with a cold steel lance

To brand Us with our doom,

With acts of fright in clever fight,

My Sabre struck aboon

The end my thought had aimed to fare,

And left the Page to swoon.

Ink black blood dripped from my Spear,

And my scribe upon the Lace,

Beneath my rage, and paraphrase:

A poem there be lain;

On th’blank grotesques I made arabesques

Like old age upon a face!

Within a dark synecdoche,

Found the scattering of Leaves,

That caught the wind of a hurried Sail

Speeding ahead the breeze—

For a Page blanked with faultlessness,

Is Metaphor in disease.


We met the Page with fettered doom,

In a bitter, tranquil fit;

We lock’d our grip to shroud with care;

Our lantern’s burning wick—

And like Seraph swords our Pen did bore

Our tongues in mighty writ:

We took the Tree the Poet sows

Splaying pages, spiraling—

Like string quartets of marionettes,

We draped them from the leaves;

We made them dance and watch’d them prance

In a Perfect mangling.

For what we lead a Poet said,

“Was the bitter of the sweet,”

What we had, our Pen had laid

Beneath our Nose and feet,

Some in rhyme and some with lines

No Man would care to read:

But some flashed Hate, and some more Great

Than the living word of Man;

Some had Span, and one held a taste

Of a ripe and tender Orange

Some were stark and woke the lark

In a rhythmic saraband,

Some alone became as Stone

And fell upon the Grave,

The Epitaph—the Elegy,

Wrote us there before the Knave;

Lo! The Fool did pin Us all

Within a Poet’s Masquerade!

Ethan Grothues (2011)

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