Mike Snider's Formal Blog at the Sonnetarium :
poems, mostly metrical, and rants and raves on poets, poetry, and the po-biz

 

ME & MINE











AIM: poemando


RESOURCES














NON-POETRY BLOGS













POET'S SITES: MOSTLY BLOGS





























































































































Subscribe to "Mike Snider's Formal Blog at the Sonnetarium" in Radio UserLand.

Click to see the XML version of this web page.

Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

 
 

Mike Snider's Formal Blog at the Sonnetarium

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Just to prove what a lout I am, I'd like to thank Daze Reader for the link to this selection of pornographic verse by John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester.


8:00:27 PM    comment: use html tags for formatting []  trackback []

Besides valiantly trying to keep me in line, Chris Lott's back at Cosmopoetica, continuing a discussion with Josh Corey about seriousness in poetry and beginning a poem-by-poem reaction to the 2004 Best American Poetry There are many posts, so I'll link to archives, Josh here and Chris here.

You may remember that Jonathan Mayhew, a few months ago, also scored the BAP (here, here, and here). It's a small sample yet on Chris's side, but after Kim Addonizio's opening poem, which gets a nod from both (7.5/10 and 4/5), there's not much agreement. I'm not surprised at the consensus about Kim — she's just damned good. Nor am I surprised at the disagreement later; nor will you, dear reader, be surprised that so far I'm with Chris.

And I'm all for taking seriously poetry and the writing of poetry, which, as both Chris and Josh have said, does not mean you can't laugh about it or use it to make other people laugh. And once again, when there's disagreement, I find myself with Chris. How can anyone believe that Billy Collins doesn't take his poetry seriously? Whether you like his poetry or not (I do, much more than Ron Silliman's or Lyn Hejinian's or Jorie Graham's but not nearly as much Sam Gwynn's or Kim Addonizio's or Tim Murphy's), the man works harder at making poems and bringing poems to others than any ten of the rest of us except perhaps Dana Gioia. It seems to me that, too often, when the post-avant (or School of Phlogiston) says "taking poetry seriously" it really means taking post-modern literary theory seriously. And that means refusing to take human nature seriously.

But you know, it's seriously weird to use the seriousness of an artist as a gauge for the worth of that artist's work. William McGonagall was as serious as a heart attack about his godawful poetry, and William Shakespeare was trying to make a living, in the theater of all places, where even minimal experience teaches you that you'd better listen to your actors when they say a line doesn't play.


7:27:23 PM    comment: use html tags for formatting []  trackback []

Monday, November 29, 2004

Just yesterday I chastised Dan Chiasson, and today he publicly recants:

We've come to imagine that there needs to be a traceable, obvious connection between "style" in art and subject matter. An art of the people better have lots of swear-words and spitting in it. And honking horns. An art of the intellect should be about Big Ideas. An art of theoretical density has got to be unintelligible. An art of great beauty should mention snow fields and sunsets. Art by Southerners should be full of dirt-roads and hounds. If this sounds parodic, read around in contemporary literature with my inventory in mind. Contemporary literature is parodic.

Not only that, but today's Slate also reviewed Richard Wilbur's new book and ended by quoting the last line of the poem I quoted yesterday. If they'd also mentioned Michael Donaghy instead of this Derek Walcott fellow, I'd think Jacob Weisberg was reading this blog.

Seriously, it's wonderful to see poetry given this kind of coverage in a major online news outlet when it isn't April. And it isn't at all silly to claim Derek Walcott to be "the greatest living English-language poet."


I forgot to provide a link the other day: Jilly Dybka's Fair Territory.


6:26:11 PM    comment: use html tags for formatting []  trackback []

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Friday's mail brought riches: Richard Wilbur's Collected Poems 1943-2004, Anthony Hecht's Collected Earlier Poems and Collected Later Poems, and the December Poetry.

I started with the commentary and letters in Poetry. There is a short remembrance of Michael Donaghy, which reminded me that weeks ago I'd meant to link these pages, here and here, from The Independent. I met Michael, briefly, at the 2001 West Chester Poetry Conference, and had the privilege of playing music with him for an hour or so. His reading later that night was a revelation in prosody and rhetoric, one with which I've still not completely come to terms though I reread Conjure and Dances Learned Late Last Night at least once a month (Amazon UK links — shamefully, his poetry isn't available in the land of his birth). For me, one of the chief pleasures of this blog has been the occasional email from Michael responding to something I'd written. Those few hours at West Chester were certainly not enough for me to claim him as a friend, but I will miss him.


There were also spirited and justified replies from, among others, Marilyn Nelson and John Parrish Peede to Eleanor Wilner's attack on Operation Homecoming, sending me back to the October issue where the attack was printed. There I re-discovered this curious comment from Dan Chiasson in his conversation with Averill Curdy on the big poetry prizes:

[Franz Wright's] having been rescued from drowning is, for me, a provocative stance, and if you choose such a stance, you'd better make it convincing. What do you expect in such dire straits—ottava rima?

For me, that's a provocatively wrong-headed question, and really the same question forwarded anonymously to the New Poetry list about Anthony Hecht: "Is the proper response to Auschwitz a sestina?" referring "The Book of Yolek," praised in Brad Leithauser's remembrance of Hecht in the December 2 New York Review of Books. I can make no sense of such a question, anymore than I can make sense of the notion that poetry ought to be difficult, or simple, or rhyming, or organic (whatever that means). In fact, I can't make sense of "poetry" reified as anything other than the collection of things which people have been willing to call poems, including things for which I personally have little or no feeling, such as concrete poems, language poems, or aleatory poems. "Poetry" seen this way is a collection of encounters between makers and audiences, sometimes direct and personal, sometimes nearly infinitely refracted through chains of commerce, politics, history, and theory. Each encounter always involves a particular poem: "poetry" only comes in through those chains.

If you don't have either The Transparent Man or Collected Later Poems, you can read "The Book of Yolek" here, along with some fairly heavy-handed but apposite commentary.


Richard Wilbur, at least, is still with us for a while. Since my old copy of Opposites lives in a bag, I'm very glad that, unlike previous Collecteds, this one includes at least some of his verse written primarily for children. There are a few wonderful new poems as well, written since Mayflies. Here is a short one:

In Trackless Woods


In trackless woods, it puzzled me to find
Four great rock maples seemingly aligned,
as if they had been set out in a row
Before some house a century ago,
To edge the property and lend some shade.
I looked to see if ancient wheels had made
Old ruts to which the trees ran parallel,
But there were none, as far as I could tell—
There'd been no roadway. Nor could I find the square
Depression of a cellar anywhere,
And so I tramped on further, to survey
Amazing patterns in a hornbeam spray
Or spirals in a pine cone, under trees
Not subject to our stiff geometries.


12:57:27 PM    comment: use html tags for formatting []  trackback []

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Just a few quick notes — packing tonight and traveling after work tomorrow, so it will probably be Friday before my next post.

  • Henry, I don't just mean "work harder at it" (though I wish I could find the time for that) but "work differently." Poets should write, once past the first draft, anyway, taking into account intelligent, interested, kindly disposed (they're looking, ain't they?), but busy readers who don't know and don't much care anything about the poet, and who must be persuaded it's worth their time to continue reading the poem and to look for more by the same poet. That doesn't mean explain everything or make everything simple, but poets shouldn't make a poem more difficult than it needs to be, and the harder it is for the reader, the more reward of some kind — intellectual discovery, surface beauty, emotional insight, what have you — the poem has to deliver. This part of it is no different from what any writer has to do. The more difficult the idea, the clearer the writing must be. Only cranks — and too many poets — make it a point of pride to be "difficult."
  • Jordan (blog here and Million Poems here), once past the size and nature of the audience for poetry, I agree with every word of your comment. And, of course, there are people who buy poetry. They're you and me and other poets. I've got more books of poems than the last five bookstores I've visited put together, and almost none of mine are duplicates. But the books of Billy Collins, whose publisher says have sold more than any poetry since Robert Frost, sell only a few tens of thousands of copies. That doesn't quite reach the level of minuscule sales.
  • Josh, I agree with much in your last post, but I don't think the intimidation many people feel when confronted by poetry has anything to do with "poetry-as-institution," whether visible or not. Some of it comes from terrible teaching in elementary and, especially, middle and early high-school, but far too much of it comes from poets who confuse cleverness or intricacy with profundity, or who, as Don Paterson said, think "theory and practice form a continuum." I'm not saying that applies to you. The effort you put into your blog is, by itself, evidence that you care that others understand your project.

8:35:59 PM    comment: use html tags for formatting []  trackback []

Monday, November 22, 2004

There were at least two passionate responses to last night's post, one from Jordan Davis in the comments and one from Joshua Corey on his own blog. Both say they will never compromise their art in order to reach a larger audience, which they clearly think I am advocating for others and willing to do myself. I don't and I'm not, and I think the compromise is being made by those who've given up, or who have never tried, writing transformative, serious (which doesn't mean "not funny"), and intellectually honest poetry for the ordinary educated reader, who does hunger for poetry, but who these days has been so often disappointed that the hunger has become merely a vague unease until something like 9-11 happens.

The fact is, it's easy to write poems to please oneself and one's friends, and it's no harder to write difficult poems than it is to write simple poems. What's hard is to write poems that, regardless of their difficulty or lack of it, help strangers see a new world. Poetry is, or was once, part of the conversation of our culture. If poets choose to mumble or shout to each other in the corners, we all suffer.


7:06:49 PM    comment: use html tags for formatting []  trackback []

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Josh Corey has three questions for me in his response to my post from last Friday. Go read his whole post (and Josh, I haven't enough of your poetry to say whether I would include you among the foolishly contented poets), but I'm going to quote the questions in full here just to make it easy for you, dear reader.

1) Do you sincerely believe that if we all wrote poetry that rhymes or otherwise follows traditional forms and carefully avoided philosophical or "theory" references in favor of carefully unmediated-seeming narratives about daily life that poetry would become a popular art again?

I don't know of anyone who believes that, and anyone who does is a fool. But here are some dismal numbers and comments for you, from David Orr's review in the New York Times today (no link because it will soon disappear into the for-pay archives) of the 2004 Best American Poetry, edited by Lyn Hejinan:

For poets, the notable distinction of this Best American edition will be that it contains nothing from such traditional sources as Poetry, The Paris Review or The Yale Review, and is instead chock-full of work from newer magazines like SHINY and POOL and No: A Journal of the Arts. To put the adventurousness of this editorial decision in perspective, however, consider that the circulation of Pool is approximately 1,000; for The Yale Review it's 7,000; and for Cat Fancy it's 240,000. And if this year's editor has scorned The Paris Review, she hasn't exactly passed up the known for the unknown: of the 75 writers here, 41 have previously appeared in a version of ''Best American Poetry,'' a typical ratio for the series.

Now, Cat Fancy readers are probably not generally a good target audience for serious poetry, but in the year 2000 the circulation of The Atlantic Monthly was even larger: 478,861 educated readers of a magazine which often devotes 20 or more pages to serious discussion of books, and it is very clear from poetry book sales numbers that in a year's time those half a million readers don't buy even one book of poetry each.

The problem isn't that poetry is not a popular art, but that for most of its natural audience, it doesn't even exist.

Here's Don Paterson, from his T. S. Eliot Lecture, which I found via the just-added-to-that-long-list-on-the-left Exultations and Difficulties:

… on the one hand we have the populists, who have made the fatal error of thinking that feeling and practice form a continuum. They infantilise our art: chicken-soup anthologies full of lousy poems; silly workshop exercises where you write a poem in the voice of your socks; ultra- 'accessible' poetry programs, where the general public text in poems to be read out on the show. …

On the other hand we have the Postmoderns, who have made the fatal error of thinking that theory and practice form a continuum. They don't: this foolish levelling of the playing field in favour of the merely clever has led to an art-practice with no effective internal critique.

So what do we do? There is no way — and certainly no need — to make poetry popular in the way, say John Clancy is popular, but surely we can — and if what we have to say is significant we should — try to recapture some of that half-million strong Atlantic audience. This answer is already far too long, but I'll nevertheless finish with a fairly lengthy quote from Paterson's lecture:

The way forward, it seems to me, lies in the redefinition of 'risk.' To take a risk in a poem is not to write a big sweary outburst about how dreadful the war in Iraq is, even if you are the world's greatest living playwright. This kind of poetry is really nothing but a kind of inverse sentimentalism — that's to say by the time it reaches the page, it's less real anger than a celebration of one's own strength of feeling. Since it tries to provoke an emotion of which its target readers are already in high possession, it will change no-one's mind about anything; more to the point, anyone can do it. Neither is 'risk' the deployment of disjunctive syntax, innovatory punctuation or wee apropos-of-nothing allusions to Heisenberg and Lacan; because anyone can do that, too. Risk, of the sort that makes readers feel genuinely uncomfortable, excited, open to suggestion, vulnerable to reprogramming, complicit in the creative business of their self-transformation is quite different.

Real danger flirts with the things we most dread as poets. Perhaps the biggest risk of all is that of being largely understood and then found to be talking a pile of garbage. But risk is also writing with real feeling, as Frost did, while somehow avoiding sentimentality; simplicity, as Cavafy did, and somehow avoiding artlessness; daring to be prophetic, as Rilke did, and miraculously avoiding pretentiousness; writing with real originality, as Dickinson did, while somehow avoiding cliché (since for a reader to be blown away by the original phrase it must already be partly familiar to them, if they are to register the transformation; a point fatally misunderstood by every generation of the avant-garde, which is one reason they are stylistically interchangeable). The narrowest of these paths, though, the poets' beautiful tightrope-walk, is the one between sense and mystery - to make one, while revealing the other.

Still with me? I'll be much quicker with the other questions. Here's the second:

2) Do you really see groups of friends who read and champion each other's work as nothing but a drag on originality and/or popularity? What's wrong with poetry as a means toward friendship?

For the friends, if they're very clear they're engaged in a parlor game, it's no problem at all. If they think of themselves as doing more than that, as making a serious contribution to the art, then they had better find a way to convince readers outside their circle. What else could "champion each other's work" mean? Saying "attaboy" or "attagirl"? If what they're doing could truly enhance the art and they don't try to reach outside, then they have instead contributed to the diminution of poetry. If they seriously try and can't reach out, then they don't yet have a contribution to make, and they need to know that so they can dig deeper.

3) Who said poetry was a guttering flame? Not me. Poetry feels more intense and more relevant and more necessary to me than ever. And I continue firmly to believe that what feels necessary to me is bound to be necessary to other people. I refuse to sacrifice the intensity of language set free from superficial intention for a wider audience that would be correspondingly diffuse in their attachment.

No one buys poetry. People still buy novels, paintings, and music; they spend their money on plays, concerts, and exhibitions. If serious poets will not write poems that serious readers will read, then the poetry people read and hear will be reduced to sentimental pablum, rap, and cowboy poems. I'd rather try Paterson's way: the poets' beautiful tightrope-walk, is the one between sense and mystery — to make one, while revealing the other.


7:46:33 PM    comment: use html tags for formatting []  trackback []

Jilly Dybka, of Poetry Hut Blog, has a free pdf chap of baseball poems with mudballs, pitchers on acid, bats as wangs (no, really!), Clinton the only president whose pitch reached the catcher, and, in the midst of the fun, hard-hitters (I'm not sorry) like this one:

Two On, Two Out



I can do better than that, and I'm fat!
That's what you said when he went down swinging
with two on and two out at his at bat.
Crap. The Tigers aren't doing anything.
That was the summer of my senior year,
each Saturday in the bleachers with you.
In the sun, drinking that cheap bleacher beer.
15 years and I still don't have a clue.
They found you dead in your dad's Cadillac.
You had gassed yourself inside the garage.
Whenever I see a game I flashback
to those bright Tiger Stadium teenage
terminal afternoons. You're there, you're loud—
I can almost pick you out of the crowd.

Get it, and pre-order the hardcopy (not hardback, as I misread it) for only six dollars.


3:01:49 PM    comment: use html tags for formatting []  trackback []

Friday, November 19, 2004

Josh Corey, writing about James Tate's poetry, almost has a revelation and decides it's OK to give Tate to someone "who doesn't think they like poetry," and moves from there to

poetry for people who don't like poetry. A very peculiar demographic; I suspect a degree of self-loathing in those poets who write for it exclusively.

Even were such chimeras to exist, I suggest that there is certainly a larger and even more peculiar group: poets who are content to write for a minuscule audience of people just like the poets themselves — other poets who know all the same references, who have all the same prejudices, who endlessly trade in-jokes, who are certain that they are the bearers of the true flame and can't understand that it's guttering because there's no oxygen at the heights where they've taken it — or is it depths? Such a strange combination of arrogance and resignation.


8:34:40 PM    comment: use html tags for formatting []  trackback []

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

A couple of notes before I go out picking tonight. First, an article I found via Arts & Letters Daily concerning our Poet Laureate, Ted Kooser, whose poetry I know not at all but which I want to read more everytime I read something about the man:

… his experience in the corporate world influences his literary work in surprising ways. His book "Sure Signs" (1980) opens with a poem called "Selecting a Reader." In it, Kooser describes the kind of audience he wants: a woman who weighs the choice of buying one of his books or having her dirty raincoat dry cleaned. The coat wins.

Now, years later, the poem reveals much about the new laureate. "I am still interested in acknowledging that the people who read books have other priorities, and I want to consider those. I want to write books of poems interesting enough and useful enough that they can compete with the need to get a raincoat cleaned."

Second, The New Yorker has a glowing review by Adam Kirsch of Richard Wilbur's new Collected Poems: 1943-2004. No living American poet even approaches the achievement of Richard Wilbur, and the only false note of the review is Kirsch's nod to the standard (and wrong) rap on Wilbur:

… while Wilbur goes on to invoke "Auschwitz' final kill," the poem ["On the Marginal Way"] does not take account of that evil in such a way that the memory of evil would affect the imagination of good.

And why should it? Do the particular forms of the evil we have known constrain our imagination of the good? I'm with Wilbur as Kirsch quotes him from a Paris Review interview:

To put it simply, I feel that the universe is full of glorious energy, that the energy tends to take pattern and shape, and that the ultimate character of things is comely and good. I am perfectly aware that I say this in the teeth of all sorts of contrary evidence, and that I must be basing it partly on temperament and partly on faith, but that is my attitude.


7:41:59 PM    comment: use html tags for formatting []  trackback []

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

I doubt it's because he gives a damn or even knows about what I wrote yesterday, but today Ron Silliman continued his linguistics disquisition by citing several of the people I mentioned as missing — in particular, he uses (without attribution) a conceptual blend diagram of the kind used by, for instance, Turner and Fauconnier in The Way We Think and approvingly mentions Lakoff and Johnson's Philosophy in the Flesh. He even manages to imply that Lakoff is in some meaningful way a student of Jakobson.

But it ain't so. Not only do Saussure's and Jakobson's names fail to appear either in the indices or in the references of those two books, Lakoff and Johnson spend all of three pages in dismissing post-structuralist linguistics, starting with a section titled "The Nonarbitrariness of the Sign." Chomsky, a much tougher (and more important) nut to crack, is given more than forty pages of close attention in addition to numerous references throughout the text.

So one bite of crow, but a good beer to wash it down.


5:31:06 PM    comment: use html tags for formatting []  trackback []

Monday, November 15, 2004

Speaking of stories, Denis Dutton's invaluable Arts & Letters Daily today featured an exciting review by Denis Dutton of Joseph Carroll's Literary Darwinism: Evolution, Human Nature, and Literature which appeared in Philosophy and Literature, edited by Garry Hagberg and … Denis Dutton. He's good enough to get away with that, and I certainly ain't complaining, even if Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, is more on the Pinker-lit-as-means-"to get at the pleasure circuits of the brain and deliver little jolts of enjoyment without the inconvenience of wringing bona fide fitness increments from the harsh world" side than the Carroll-lit-as-means-"by which people learn to understand their own emotions and the feelings of others" side. Dutton convincingly argues both views of fiction are true of any particular work to varying degrees, and in both narrative is a fundamental aspect of human nature.

And speaking of Pinker, or rather not speaking of Pinker or Rosch or Lakoff or Turner or Sweetser or Fauconnier or Johnson and barely mentioning Chomsky, Ron Silliman exposes the intellectual backwardness and bankruptcy of L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E theory by claiming Saussure's work as "the origin of contemporary linguistics." The rest of the post is pretty silly, too.


8:20:27 PM    comment: use html tags for formatting []  trackback []

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Christians have burnt each other, quite persuaded
That all the Apostles would have done as they did.

‘’T is strange—the Hebrew noun which means “I am,”
The English always use to govern d-mn.’

If you think ’twas philosophy that this did,
I can't help thinking puberty assisted.


9:59:50 PM    comment: use html tags for formatting []  trackback []

Via American Digest, I've discovered a wonderful new (to me) site for news and reflections on science and culture. I've added Laputan Logic under Resources over on the left.


8:28:04 PM    comment: use html tags for formatting []  trackback []

Reading Don Juan, which makes me feel better about poems. Of course, he never finished the thing, and Auden himself shied from addressing Byron in ottava rima, and I still have only the faintest of ideas what I want to do besides "write something long and entertaining in verse." So, though today I feel better about poetry, I'm not nearly as sanguine about my poetry. I think I'll try invocations to the muse (but which one?) in ottava and terza rima, rime royal, and the Pushkin stanza. Here's an old one (with tonight's revisions) that didn't work out so well:

Invocation


Sing, Muse! It's worth a shot, don't you think?
Maybe some dame in robes will fill my brain
With fire — it's happened! — when I've had a drink
Or maybe twelve the night before and pain
Is most of what I know. Sure don't know her —
Not that there's anyone here right now
Besides my wife. That's past, and I'd prefer
We don't explore that subject, anyhow.
Let's start again. Thalia! Bless my verse!
You gave the rustic shepherds lively song
And taught them how to woo
— oh Christ, that's worse.
What can I say to her that won't go wrong?
Maybe there's nothing and I'm on my own.
Maybe it's time to learn to sing alone.


7:04:28 PM    comment: use html tags for formatting []  trackback []

Saturday, November 13, 2004

I haven't been writing or even reading much poetry for a while, and this blog is obviously suffering from neglect, but I usually sleepwalk through the summer and didn't think much of it until I started driving home from work in the dark without a line in my head.

I have been reading. Jaques Barzun's From Dawn to Decadence gets at least twenty minutes a night, Orwell's collected essays get about half that (gonna be a long row to hoe), and I've read the first eight Anita Blake novels from Laurell K. Hamilton. They're really good, but don't waste your time on her fantasy novels. I've also been watching the Buffy DVDs. And damnit, why can't poems today be just as entertaining and moving as Joss Whedon and William Shakespeare? Joss is no Will, of course, but he's a hell of a lot closer than Seamus Heaney is.

Part of the problem is that most poets, myself included, don't tell stories anymore. I try to ground my little lyrics in a narrative moment, but a sonnet just doesn't have enough time to really get to your backbrain. No one writing long poems seems to give a shit about character or plot — well, no one is too strong. There's Vikram Seth's wonderful The Golden Gate, Fred Turner's two sci-fi epics The New World and Genesis, and Glyn Maxwell's Time's Fool, but only the last is less than 15 years old.

So what's to do? I want to work on something long, maybe in ottava rima, and I don't have a clue about how to get going. Maybe I'll inflict my attempts on the few readers left here. Waddaya think?


Update: The New Republic has a review of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, an astonishing alternate history novel by Susanna Clarke. This book really started my current disenchantment with lyric poetry. Sacha Zimmerman, the TNR reviewer, quotes the book:

"Such power! Such inventiveness! English magic today lacks spirit! It lacks fire and energy! I cannot tell you how bored I am of the same dull spells to solve the same dull problems. The glimpse I had of your magic proved to me that it is quite different. You could surprize me. And I long to be surprized!"

Read "American poetry" for "English magic."


8:17:44 PM    comment: use html tags for formatting []  trackback []

Tuesday, November 2, 2004

Heard this on NPR today. As Andrew Sullivan wrote at The Daily Dish (though he quoted only part of it), "strangely moving." In fact, I cried in the car.

The Poor Voter on Election Day


The Proudest now is but my peer
The highest not more high.
Today, of all the weary year,
A king of men am I!
Today alike are great and small,
The nameless and the known.
My place is the people's hall,
The ballot box my throne.
Who serves today upon the list
Beside the served shall stand;
Alike the brown and wrinkled fist,
The gloved and dainty hand!
The rich is level with the poor,
The weak is strong today.
And sleekest broadcloth counts no more
Than homespun frock of gray.
Today let pomp and vain pretence
My stubborn right abide.
I set a plain man's common sense
Against the pedant's pride.
Today shall simple manhood try
The strength of gold and land;
The wide world has not wealth to buy
The power in my right hand.
While there's a grief to seek redress
Or balance to adjust,
Where weighs our living manhood less
Than Mammon's vilest dust -
While there's a right to need my vote
A wrong to sweep away,
Up! Clouted knee and ragged coat -
A man's a man today!


John Greenleaf Whittier, 1852


7:05:41 PM    comment: use html tags for formatting []  trackback []



© Copyright 2008 Michael Snider.
Last update: 6/26/08; 9:16:42 PM.

Click here to visit the Radio UserLand website.