Though Ogden Nash called you a homely beast
And intimated you’re preposterous
I do not find you either in the least,
You perfect, ponderous, single-horned rhinocerous.
So fond of praise and petting you endure
With your prehensile upper lip, high fives
By which sweet turnip slices you procure,
Though they are not essential to survive.
Yet thanks to those who think your horn is magic
Though it’s composed of only keratin,
Which makes up hair and fingernails, it’s tragic;
Your numbers dwindle, to the world’s chagrin.
With untold gratitude do I behold
Your ears when sunshine turns their fringes gold.
The beauty of a star is best admired
Through distillation of the atmosphere,
So purest light may grateful eyes inspire
When it in darkened firmament appears.
Though from a distance it may seem perfection
A star might crush you with its gravity,
Starve you in shadow with its pale reflection,
Or burn you with its light’s intensity.
Scorn not your ideal orbit of the sun
Whose brightness feeds your body, mind, and soul.
Though seasons pass as revolutions run
Its warmth and light your weary heart consoles.
Remember: when regarded from afar
Your sun is someone else’s distant star.
As every English student has found out,
A sonnet can be writ by anyone-
From rhyming word pairs inspiration sprouts,
Resulting in a bit of scanning fun,
And pride in saying, “Look at what I wrote!”
Enjoying kinship with great wordsmiths past,
Since, thanks to Shakespeare, sonnets form connotes
Refinement, passion, cleverness, and class.
Now, since you know the baics of the craft,
And your successes cannot but impel
You onward, you are competent to draft
Sestinas, ballads, odes, and villanelles.
Don’t be intimidated. Sit. Think. Write.
It’s pretty much what I do every night.
It was suggested that my daily sonnet
Is insufficient challenge- I should spread
My wings and place a feather in my bonnet
By writing daily villanelles instead.
The form demands two oft-repeated rhymes
To end five three-line stanzas, two refrains,
Each of which is repeated several times
And finally finished off with a quatrain.
To write just five more lines in every day
Might seem a fairly trivial expansion,
But repetitious forms bring me dismay,
As well as fewer rhymes and unclear scansion.
While villanelles enjoy some notoriety,
I much prefer the fourteen-line variety.
As one who walks two dogs when one dog balks
And lags behind to seek enticing scents,
The other pulling forward as she stalks
Her feline quarry, such is the suspense
Of living with one foot firmly on earth,
Accepting obligations of that life,
Though dull, because one understands the worth
Of duty when it minimizes strife-
But at such times the striving soul will see
Those who have made a living at their dreams
And disregard pernicious jealousy
Which whispers that it’s perfect as it seems.
To know no life’s protected from despair
Makes compromises easier to bear.
Through force of Will came sonnets into being,
Deliberately chosen as a form
Requiring glibness, and perhaps foreseeing
The poem’s liberation from the norm-
Instead of celibate and mannered verse,
That rarely touches on libidinous matter,
These sonnets are both liberal and perverse;
A library of flippancy and smatter.
Like Caliban on Sycorax’s isle,
I take great liberties to claim descendence,
With quodlibets, the mantle of Will’s style,
Though fallible to pride and lacking essence.
My caliber’s discernible through bluster
Even within this yearlong filibuster.
To breathlessly anticipate new faces
And tales carved out from layers of history
With playfulness in interstitial spaces
While solving a dramatic mystery,
But then receive a quite familiar setting,
Recurring characters, gambits, and tropes,
As well scale issues that could use vetting-
Was it constructed just to dash my hopes?
What cynic put such petty thoughts inside
The womens’ heads and had them fight in leather,
Thus stopping them from walking alongside
The hero? I hope this is no bellwether.
Yet I enjoyed this Doctor’s first appearance
And sit in hope of much improved coherence.
Inspiration: Doctor Who series 8 premiere.
When music joyfully calls out to us,
It takes a moment for us to perceive
The invitation to respond, and thus
We pause, not wishing to appear naïve.
But with the second call we understand
Just what we are expected to repeat.
It’s both request and cheerful reprimand
That silence makes the music incomplete.
To ask the audience to join the song
Turns passive listener to chorus member.
The phrases are not intricate or long,
And with each repetition, they remember.
So raise your arms and voices when you’re told-
Your pleasure will increase a hundredfold.
August 22: Acceptance
The wait between audition and result
Could drive less sanguine people to distraction,
For even if one does well, to exult
Is premature, since knowing just fraction
Of others seeking placement and their skill
Leaves many variables yet undefined.
Though premature analysis may thrill,
It’s won’t affect what parts will be assigned.
Acceptance, when it comes, is pure relief
And pleasure that your wish has been fulfilled,
That’s followed by dismay and disbelief
For those whose choral voices have been stilled.
The time for singing will come soon enough-
For now, I sympathize with the rebuffed.
The Rule of Malheur Twelve is simply this:
It can’t be ordered as a final beer,
And if this aphorism you dismiss,
More Malheur Twelve is destined to appear.
So if one buys a bottle for the table
The person who is buying the next round
Consults the bottle list and isn’t able
To find beer more beloved or more renowned.
Thus, when you’re late to join the cheerful crowd,
And all your friends have reached beer saturation,
Someone who asks what beer will leave them wowed
Will send a bottle in appreciation.
The Rule may seem a brag and not a warning,
But you will understand it in the morning.