I’ve been reading (and posting) a lot of poetry which I find to be salve for my suffering soul.
I saw a friend’s recent Facebook post (McSweeney’s recent piece, “Famous Lines of Poetry Revised for the Age of Coronavirus” and was reminded of my long ignored pleasure in tweaking up others’ work to make something new. I replied to his post with a dreadful take on William Carlos Williams’s “This Is Just To Say,” and I’ll leave it that the spinoff was about toilet paper instead of plums.
This guilty literary pleasure began one day in Sister Mary Hyde’s English class when I was a young teen. She didn’t like me, and I didn’t much like her and found myself often bored and irritated in class. I believe my first effort was a collaborative one with my friends Moira and Pat. The three of us were obsessed with our weight back then (oh I’d give a lot to be that fit again), and we created a terrible poem called, The Lovesong of J. Alfred Pigfrock, with no apologies to T.S. Eliot for our twisting of his “The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock.” The fiery joy of inspiration for parody, satire, and even occasionally for loftier ideas was enkindled. I guess the embers still glow.
With apologies to Willam Shakespeare
Shall I compare thee to a wartime foe?
Thou move’st with less reason and more speed:
War’s leaders choose to cause the harm and woe,
Bound to the games they play by lust and greed;
Sometimes too late the eye of wisdom shines,
And oft it is their clear perspective’s dimm’d;
And every life from health sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
But thy infernal essence shall not stay,
Nor keep possession of that fear thou sow’st;
Nor shall we let thou steal our souls or play,
‘Cause from your dark into our light we grow’st:
So long as we can breathe, our hearts can see,
So long lives love, and love brings victory.
Wishing you wisdom, light, and love.