Verse on the Rocks


Eight American Poets: an anthology

 

Cryptography prior to the modern age
was effectively synonymous with encryption,

the conversion of information from a readable state
to apparent nonsense.
Wikipedia: Cryptography

Berryman, Bishop, Plath, Sexton, et al
(whose verse preserves badly in alcohol)
distilled tepid poems full half-throttle:
Not-so-wild turkeys, jiggling their wattle.

I strive in vain to uncover meaning
though such dry fields are barely worth gleaning;
pompous hackademics of brave new verse
have shown, through their scrawling, it can get worse;
wordsmiths of dullness for grad students’ gain,
grant scholars trading in pleasure for pain
with each odd word choice or wretched refrain.

Berryman, Bishop, Lowell, Sexton and Plath
prepare me for rest in their tepid bath
as I try to read them—but fall asleep
the book upon my breast, my boredom deep.
A soporific tried and true, such dreck.
(Amazing they could even cash a check.)

Did madness excuse them to make a fuss,
force meaningful discourse to languish thus
in obfuscation and cryptography
submerged in rarefied verbosity?
What frumpy muse, nose in her thesaurus
hoped to, this scholarly way, implore us
while putting on airs un-deliriously
to study such silly screeds seriously?

Berryman, Bishop, Plath, Sexton, and Lowell
lured me with poetry into their hole.
Lord, how these clowns made a good thing boring;
they should have set earthbound souls to soaring.
but turned it into a master’s thesis,
fracturing verse to erudite pieces.

Berryman, overrated mass of sheer
vocabulary overload, unclear,
seems more to justify modernist doubt
than to show what real poetry’s about.

Bishop, cryptic identity-monger
(America’s Vassar-girl no longer)
wrote vaguely accessible verse, sometimes…
and some of her poetry even rhymes!

Plath, prima donna, boring semantics
failing to compensate for her antics
blathering bitterness, head in oven
might have been happier joining a coven.

Sexton, pill-headed prophetess unchained
half poetess of half-sense, half-brained
departed with zest,  from her own garage.
(We’re still decoding her cryptic barrage).

Lowell, left quaking in his unstoned grave
more interesting—but still a verbose knave…

These self-absorbed nerds, when not at their shrink
checked out in adultery, pills and drink.
Such sad celebrants of depraved excess,
no vanguard at all, are more a regress
to endless jaded pointlessness and dope,
their abstract verbiage void of all hope.

Who canonized these unexploded shells,
these duds, these fizzling scribes of milquetoast hells…
must we hail and applaud such labored lines?
Instead, make them pay some posthumous fines!
They withered awhile, these funereal blooms;
let REAL poets turn over in their tombs;
call spades on what my ringing spade exhumes.

Cream of lyric America. I yawn.
It’s late now. White moonlight exalts the lawn.
The world sleeps on, lulled to death by dull verse
May their ghosts, fully exorcised, disperse…

My ditty is based on this lyrical sedative.
(I had a heck of a time trying to swallow it):
8-american-poets

Post-modern oceans:
poetry now lost at sea.
Muse overboard! (retch)

 

London’s Derrière

https://i0.wp.com/www.ngw.nl/heraldrywiki/images/c/c9/Connecticut.jpg

Ode to Connecticut

(although with the taxes one pays in this quaint New England state
the poem should be titled “Owed to CT”.
I don’t recall where I found this statal poem but it is very old)

Tune: Londonderry Air

Here in the vista of three hundred years we stand,

Our torches kindled by thy guiding light.

A Pilgrim host, we come to thee from every land,

With joyful hopes, well girded by thy might.

Connecticut, beloved State, all hail to thee;

Tower of might against a flaming sky,

The heav’ns resound with praise, ring out with victory.

God speed you on and all your glories sanctify.

Through summer heat and winter cold thy honor stands,

A bulwark gainst the mighty hosts of sin,

Till love shall spread to earth’s most distant island strands,

And Heaven’s righteous ways o’er evil win.

Connecticut, advancing through the changing years,

May knowledge guide thy sons and daughters fair,

And honor, truth and wisdom banish all our fears,

Connecticut, while we thy many glories share!

The years shall pass across thy mighty mountain walls,

Against the gold of every setting sun,

A newer host, well-born within thy ancient halls,

Shall bear thy standards of new glories won.

Connecticut, our fathers kept thy honor fair,

Thy reach of love they widened to the sea.

We shall keep faith, where they fought; we, too, shall dare,

Connecticut, for aye we pledge our hearts to thee.

Great Sire of Floods: Mix-Master P.F.

I feel a bit guilty for posting Iggy & the Stooges recently so I need to reel it in and bring it back to the theme of this blog. This 18th Century quintessential American poem gets the most views here at ConnectHook. I love this poet’s imagery, patriotism, and octosyllabic rhyme. Give it up for Mix Master P. Freneau!

 

On the Emigration to America and Peopling the Western Country

Philip Freneau (1752-1832)

To western woods, and lonely plains,
Palemon from the crowd departs,
Where Nature’s wildest genius reigns,
To tame the soil, and plant the arts–
What wonders there shall freedom show,
What mighty states successive grow!

From Europe’s proud, despotic shores
Hither the stranger takes his way,
And in our new found world explores
A happier soil, a milder sway,
Where no proud despot holds him down,
No slaves insult him with a crown.

What charming scenes attract the eye,
On wild Ohio’s savage stream!
There Nature reigns, whose works outvie
The boldest pattern art can frame;
There ages past have rolled away,
And forests bloomed but to decay.

From these fair plains, these rural seats,
So long concealed, so lately known,
The unsocial Indian far retreats,
To make some other clime his own,
When other streams, less pleasing flow,
And darker forests round him grow.

Great Sire of floods! whose varied wave
Through climes and countries take its way,
To whom creating Nature gave
Ten thousand streams to swell thy sway!
No longer shall they useless prove,
Nor idly through the forests rove;

Nor longer shall your princely flood
From distant lakes be swelled in vain,
Nor longer through a darksome wood
Advance, unnoticed to the main,
Far other ends, the heavens decree–
And commerce plans new freights for thee.

While virtue warms the generous breast,
There heaven-born freedom shall reside,
Nor shall the voice of war molest,
Nor Europe’s all-aspiring pride–
There Reason shall new laws devise,
And order from confusion rise.

Forsaking kings and regal state,
With all their pomp and fancied bliss,
The traveller owns, convinced though late,
No realm so free, so blest as this–
The east is half to slaves consigned,
Where kings and priests enchain the mind.

O come the time, and haste the day,
When man shall man to longer crush,
When Reason shall enforce her sway,
Nor these fair regions raise our blush,
Where still the African complains,
And mourns his yet unbroken chains.

Far brighter scenes a future age,
The muse predicts, these States will hail,
Whose genius may the world engage,
Whose deeds may over death prevail,
And happier systems bring to view
Than all the eastern sages knew.

1785