I Think I Like You Better Now

I think I like you better now; it’s been a little while
Since first you took my breath away with just a passing smile.
When love was fresh and new and fast, before life took its toll–
I think I like you better now, with weathered heart and soul.

I think I like you better now than when it just was us,
Before the babies came with all their love and joy and fuss,
When it was husband, wife, alone, who shared each long night through.
I think I like our love stretched thin, for more than me and you.

I think I like you better now, a little gray and worn,
A little tired, weary, from the burdens we have borne,
But ready with a smile and touch that leaves me breathless, still–
I think I like you better now; I think I always will.

 

Ballad:  Forgiveness

(Inspired by Matthew 18:24-35)

The debt I owed my King had grown so large,
Increasing into millions as I spent.
I should have realized there would be a charge
Demanding that I pay back every cent.

“More time, my Lord,” I begged before the throne.
But, pitiless, He ordered heavy chains
To bind me and my family, call our loan
By selling us as surety for His gains.

In terror for my life, I dropped, dismayed
And worshiped at His cold, impassive feet,
I wept aloud, implored, entreated, prayed
For patience ‘til I paid Him back, complete.

The palace still, but for my family’s sobs,
I quit my cries and swallowed back my tears.
I knew the law: that everyone who robs
The royal purse must serve out his arrears.

The soldiers pressed my children now to leave,
Then us, the parents, to our dreadful fate,
What happened next, I still can scarce believe:
The King called out to all his sentries, “Wait!”

*******************

We turned to him, beheld, not callous Law,
Not rigid, stony-hearted, Kingly rule,
But mercy, grace, forgiveness for my flaw,
His tear-stained face the opposite of cruel.

His voice was kind, “This debt you owe, so great,
Can never in this lifetime be repaid.
I have a better Law to legislate:
Your debt is pardoned; sentence now is stayed.”

I can’t begin describing all our joy,
Our sweet relief where once alarm had been.
The King had set me free; Who could destroy
Our peace, our brand-new life, set to begin?

*******************

And then I saw him, ducking out of sight,
The bankrupt chap who still had not returned
My “fiver” that he’d borrowed late one night,
Apparently, the swindler never learned!

His shifty face still made me furious.
How dare he owe and never pay me back!
My smugness found his “cheek” injurious
And, seething, I commenced my just attack.

I grabbed him by the throat, the lazy swine,
And hollered, “Pay me back and make it fast.
That fiver that I loaned you? Well, it’s mine!”
He looked at me with fear, his face aghast.

“I’ll pay you back; don’t worry; give me time!”
His voice, so shaky, pleaded that I wait.
But I knew better: he’d pay for this crime,
To prison now–no time to hesitate!

I locked him up, and settled back, at rest,
My conscience clear, my ethics rectified.
The malefactor’s dirty deed addressed,
The wrong made right, the truth now on my side.

*********************

Next morning, while I breakfasted alone,
The call came from His Majesty, the King.
I hurried to the palace, to His throne,
To serve, to give, to offer anything.

I never shall forget the look He gave,
The sorrow, then the anger as He said,
“Oh wicked servant, why should you behave
Like this–when only days ago you pled?

“I gave you clemency, forgave your debt.
And it was millions, yet I let it go.
But you refused to pardon, to forget
Or pity one who owed a sum so low.

“So now you’ll have the chance to feel his pain,
To wish for some compassion on your soul.
I’ve brought your sentence back, ‘til I regain
Each penny from your debtor’s prison-hole.”

***********************

Forgiven much, I grudged another’s debt,
And now I have a lifetime to regret

 

Amy Foreman hails from the southern Arizona desert, where she homesteads with her husband and seven children.  She has enjoyed teaching both English and Music at the college level, but is now focused on home-schooling her children, gardening, farming, and writing. Her blog is theoccasionalcaesura.wordpress.com

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27 Responses

  1. Reid McGrath

    I am proud to have been a member of the Society of Classical Poets since it’s relative youth; and now feel an even greater sense of pride about being able to see it through to maturation. The bar has been raised. With the additions of Foreman, Salemi, Mackenzie, et al, I am now confident if not downright cocksure that we boast the most talented and traditionally minded lineup of contemporary poets writing in the world today. I may still be underexposed and naive to other poetry platforms out there. But I don’t think so. Keep up the good work everybody.

    Reply
    • Amy Foreman

      I have been thinking similar thoughts lately with regard to the other poets you mentioned as well as yourself, Reid! Thank you for the support!

      Reply
    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      I am greatly encouraged by your exhortation, as I feel the very same way about the application of traditional principles of poetry appearing with greater frequency, as I think we all of us have noticed.

      The input I have been receiving at http://www.mackenziepoet.com has greatly increased, a sure indication that the Society of Classical Poets, far from being underexposed, is likely our nation’s premier venue for traditional Anglo-American verse.

      Reply
  2. Satyananda Sarangi

    How often have I felt that The Society of Classical Poets is the very preserver of art of the highest form.
    The first poem, rich in melody and emotions, relates to every bond of love that is strengthened with age. The repetition, rather all of it is immaculate.
    The second poem binds the reader to the divine thread. Here’s this thing- a lot of contemporary poems ( without the beauty and form) miss out in forwarding a moral to the readers too. But the one here has a moral and stands out. The ballad is beautifully crafted and possesses deep subject matter.

    Will be looking forward to read more of you, ma’am.

    Reply
    • Amy Foreman

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Satyananda. You are right: the Divine thread is a crucial element missing from so many modern poems. I am thankful to Evan Mantyk and the Society for printing/publishing poetry about what really matters–as we have seen recently in offerings from both James Sale and Joseph Charles MacKenzie.

      Reply
  3. Joan Fullmore

    Your first poem can Revolutionize marriage and an ideal Fathers day poem! Bravo!!!

    Reply
      • Joan Carol Fullmore

        I sent your poem to my children and my oldest daughter, a celebrated screenwriter, had this to say:

        Thank you!! You don’t know how timely this poem is… I have salty water in my eyes… thank you!!!

  4. Bruce Dale Wise

    “I Think I Like You Better Now” is an fine poem in the lyric, balladic tradition. It is a wonderful example of New Millennial English-language poetry, in the tradition of such works as Bradstreet’s “To My Dear and Loving Husband,” Byron’s “She Walks in Beauty,”and E. Browning’s “Sonnet 43.” The most appealing aspects of the poem are its metrical mastery, its simple diction, its delicate thematic content, and its poignancy. Though I do not claim for it a place, as in the great sonnet sequences of Spenser and Shakespeare, still, I think it comp’rable to any single sonnet there; and in many individual cases, I think I like it better.

    Reply
  5. Amy Foreman

    Thank you, Bruce, for appreciating “I Think I Like You Better Now” and for your final witty statement: “I think I like it better.” 😉 Being mentioned in the same paragraph with the Bradstreet, Byron, and Browning, as well as the two illustrious S’s (Shakespeare and Spencer), is a great honor. Thank you for the compliment!

    Reply
  6. David Watt

    I was immediately struck upon reading ‘I Think I Like You Better Now’ by the beauty of composition, the lyrical form, and the timeless message it imparts. A pleasure to read not once, but over again. For me that is the measure of a great poem.

    Reply
  7. Amy Foreman

    Joan, I’m so touched that this poem resonated with your daughter. Thank you for sharing it!

    Reply
  8. Joseph Charles MacKenzie

    One of the most horrific aspects of modernism was its unrelenting attack on traditional marriage, its carnal cult of youth, and its false, romantic doctrine of “love.” In turn, Amy Foreman’s poem has overturned each and every error the modernist academy imposed respecting marriage, and with a disarming simplicity, elegance, and fidelity to the pertinent realities. Here, the principles our poetess has applied recall those which underwrite, for example, Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116.

    The celebration of domestic life is outstanding, completing the thematic of the Ars Poetica Nova of which Mrs. Foreman is an important component.

    Reply
    • Amy Foreman

      Thank you, Joseph Charles MacKenzie, for these commendatory remarks, and especially for pointing out yet another modernistic poison for which Ars Poetica Nova is the antidote!

      Reply
  9. Lorna Davis

    These are both wonderful, Amy, and “I Think I Like You Better Now” can be the voice of either wife to husband or vice versa. Not just classical poetry, but poetry that can become a classic. Your “Ballad: Forgiveness” took me back to those years of my father reciting The Lord’s Prayer, and the line “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”. That sacred obligation to be as forgiving of each other as we hope the Eternal will be forgiving of us. Beautiful work.

    Reply
    • Amy Foreman

      Thank you for these kind words, Lorna! Yes, that line in the Lord’s Prayer definitely gives me pause–as does the parable upon which “Forgiveness” is based. It’s a tall order, that “sacred obligation,” and a sobering one.

      Reply
  10. James Sale

    I think i like you better now – once again – a marvellous piece of work from Amy Foreman. What oft was thought, but ne’er so well expressed, as Pope put it: you have nailed it. Such pathos, such fragility, such abiding love; love it!

    Reply
  11. Father Richard Libby

    Both poems are quite good, but I must say that I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a poem so much on first reading as I did with “I Think I Like You Better Now”.

    Reply

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