Ars Poetica for Shaky Times
      (Apologies to Auden and Horace)

This little poem is in sonnet form;
a poet will need support from the past:
the best way to find it will be at last
to compose within a poetic norm –

limited available words will swarm
to the surface and will leave you aghast –
the poverty of English is unjust!
Though today we think slant rhymes do no harm.

In spite of which, here poets can wrestle
with their predecessors, while tradition
conjoins those on the same expedition,
same genre, in the same sacred vessel

of holy poetry, and hold support
in match after match with every effort.

 

A Prayer

May my inner self come out and play free,
either dancing or retreating within,
not trapped on, nor out of, the social sea.

I think I’ve screwed up since Eve’s Sacred Tree
revealed the difference between good and sin:
may my inner self come out and play free,

to gambol among the others like me,
who long ago knew they were forgiven
and skip in and out of themselves bravely.

As Christians, Buddhists, Taoists will agree
we all need to practice meditation:
may my inner self come out and play free,

rising like incense to God and Beauty
in highest realms of every one’s heaven,
not trapped on, nor out of, the social sea.

O highest God, may You, and may we, be
the many, many who have become One!
May my inner self come out and play free,
not trapped on, nor out of, the social sea.

 

These poems are among the entries for the Society of Classical Poets’ 2012 Poetry Competition.

Robert Sonkowsky is a poet, free-lance actor, and Classics & Theater Professor Emeritus.  He has written and performed poetry since the second grade.  He has published two books of poetry: UNSOUND SCIENCE ISBN 978-1-4500-0752-8 and WAVERLY SONGS ISBN 978-1-4697-9169-2, with individual poems in some on-line and print publications.   He regularly recites new poems before the North Oaks, Minnesota, Poets and Writers group.  For details see Wikipedia, his agent www.wehmann.com, his U. of Minnesota resume cnes.cla.umn.edu, or just Google him; for samples, both print and audio see http://www.bolchazy.com/prod.php?cat=latin&id=00007 and

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