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  • Emeritus

    In this decade-lagging portrait,
    chin-prop fingers
    - the sigil of clever -
    and pondage of gaze
    - mock-angled for pearls or monsters -
    you wear like a pyramid
    wears its ages,
    and all in silver grey
    like meaning.

    Aft of this lambent icon backing
    your conference chat
    your present lapses,
    carping at incommodious
    chairs and the price of haircuts.
    Legacy sagging to tumble,
    belly, fog, and whisky; and wife
    off thrilling to pots and plays,
    forever - the garden fence,
    from where you slouch,
    precisely sharpens your ten of swords.

    Once they came to follow,
    books at their breasts like doors,
    and your gloss on folly, and passport wit
    that gadded about the ghost salons
    and garrets, in seven tongues,
    were chime of keys.
    Now, the improvalist pretties
    - oystering no baroque-able grit -
    make nipples a cause,
    and sister swathed declaimers
    all het up for an arab god.

    If they kiss, it is only in air,
    to prod aside your spilled
    - your stained -
    white life of pages.
    Last edited by grant hayes; 03-28-2017, 06:39 PM.

  • #2
    Notes:

    - the 'emeritus' of the title refers to an academic, a professor.

    - stanza 2, line 11: 'ten of swords' refers to a tarot card of the minor arcana, of dire meaning.

    - stanza 3, lines 4 and 5: 'ghost salons and garrets' refers to contexts in which artists, writers, and intellectuals congregated or lived, in the 18th and 19th centuries in particular. The professor mediated access to this world for his students and readers.

    - stanza 3, line 8: 'oystering no baroque-able grit' refers to the process by which pearls are made, from grit inside an oyster; 'baroque' refers to natural pearls of an irregular shape, much prized.

    - stanza 3, line 10: 'sister' here is used as a verb, not a noun.
    Last edited by grant hayes; 03-12-2017, 07:59 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      It seems rather sad that such experience isn't respected (or it reads to not be relevant). Speaks to me of one who is wondering at the futility of efforts made, in light of current feelings/events. A melancholy note for sure. Was that your intent?

      Comment


      • #4
        Rhymist, it's a portrait of a man of academic stature who is coping with his irrelevance and the loss of his allure as he ages. I want to distil his weakness with a detached eye, and let readers decide what they feel about his situation.

        Comment


        • RhymeLovingWriter
          RhymeLovingWriter commented
          Editing a comment
          Our truths so often find grounding in our personal act of beholding, don't they? I think it is admirable to be able to write in a way to leave it up to the reader. A skill I've barely attempted, much less mastered. But then, so far as I know, I have the rest of today to try!

      • #5
        The imagery and language describing the subject is so clear and original. Always a beautiful thoughtful read and always a lesson in poetry.
        Last edited by lunar glide; 03-13-2017, 01:43 PM.

        Comment


        • #6
          Thank you, lunar glide. I am relieved that a piece of mine can be found 'clear'.

          Comment


          • #7
            did you (intentionally) change the end, from the Original post? I like it, and don't know which I enjoyed the most... or if they were different..

            Comment


            • #8
              I didn't change the end, amenOra. I altered a word in the first line.

              Comment


              • amenOra
                amenOra commented
                Editing a comment
                good goin. it worked!

            • #9
              Mr. Hayes. Mission accomplished.

              I can really appreciate the sense of loss, that the subject feels.

              Eloquently presented, in your own unique style.

              That second paragraph, is a work of art in of itself!

              Comment


              • #10
                Thank you, Dwayne. This write confounds me when I go over it; I can't tell whether it's good or bad. That happens not infrequently, when I have worked so intently on a piece that I become calloused to it. I take heart from your ever-receptive reading; you are very gracious.

                Comment


                • amenOra
                  amenOra commented
                  Editing a comment
                  ive been going over my teenage angsty darksome poems from poems and quotes, the site, Grant, and i enjoy them more than my newest ones. i forgot the richness of rhythm and uncharted territory. its sad but they are more potent now. figures, right? or am i just blinded by... hmm.. what do we call that? ??? lol. not sure anyway. i know what you mean, is all...

                • grant hayes
                  grant hayes commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I hear you, amenOra; there is definitely a certain vigour that shines through in one's juvenilia. How does one keep up that vitality? Sometimes it takes that distance, and a kind of forgetting, to appreciate what is valuable in one's work. On the flip side, I often cringe when I review work of mine that I considered good a few years ago. Will today's 'good' seem ashes a few years hence, too?
                  Last edited by grant hayes; 03-28-2017, 06:41 PM.

              • #11
                I always love reading your work, grant hayes, and this one in particular really grabbed my fancy! None can match your brilliance with words -- each new piece leaves me dumbfounded and amazed at how you can craft such eloquence.

                'Some chewed-up wood and drops of ink--
                Enough to make the whole world think'

                Comment


                • #12
                  I love those lines, N Y Sonnet

                  I'm glad you liked this piece; it's a word portrait of a certain type of man - an amalgam of several individuals I've known and known of. The germ of the poem was my thinking about the way people place their fingers at chin or cheek in photos - in a non-supporting manner - to signal intelligence.

                  Many thanks for your gracious compliments.

                  Comment


                  • #13
                    A substantial edit of the first stanza and one other line. Altered lines appear in italics. Opinions welcome.

                    In this decade-lagging portrait,
                    a chin-prop finger
                    - sigil of clever -
                    and a gaze grip-knotted
                    with pearls or monsters,
                    you wear like a citadel
                    wears out sieges,

                    and all in silver grey
                    like meaning.

                    Aft of this icon backing
                    your conference chat
                    your present lapses,
                    carping at incommodious
                    chairs and the price of haircuts.
                    Legacy sagging to tumble,
                    belly, fog, and whisky; and wife
                    off thrilling to pots and plays,
                    forever - the garden fence,
                    from where you slouch,
                    precisely sharpens your ten of swords.

                    Once they came to follow,
                    books at their breasts like doors,
                    and your gloss on folly, and passport wit
                    that gadded about the ghost salons
                    and garrets, in seven tongues,
                    were chime of keys.
                    Now, the improvalist pretties
                    - oystering no baroque-able grit -
                    make nipples a cause,
                    and sister swathed declaimers
                    all het up for an arab god.

                    If they kiss, it is only in air,
                    to mock aside your spilled
                    - your stained -
                    white life of pages.

                    Comment


                    • #14
                      Grant late to the party and trying to just drink it in but this is worthy of more than one sampling-So muchfood for thought thank you

                      Comment


                      • #15
                        Grant I've missed reading your poetry which challenges me and my perceptions. There is a sadness in accepting our mortality and wondering how if at all we have impacted others. Enjoyed this very much.

                        Comment

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