‘The Backwards Romantic’ and Other Poetry by Reid McGrath The Society September 4, 2015 Beauty, Culture, Poetry 2 Comments The Backwards Romantic “Most of those once common occasions for poetry seem embarrassingly old fashioned now that piped-in tunes and hand-held devices provide the background music for life’s journey.” -Dana Gioia I’m prone to loathe the radio and television, noise from all angles, laptops, iPads, cell-phones— the gibber-jabber of the wired boys and girls. I crave the silence of the Stones of Venice, eerie quiet, sacred sound that’s not quite sound: the wind-chime’s plaintive tune, the creaking trees in snow, a shrieking loon on a morning lake where fog and calm abound… I’d have preferred a horse-cart out tonight: with only the yotes yipping and the clop clop-clottering of horses—by the light of lantern—who knew when and where to stop without a map, much less a GPS. Endangered Silence causes me distress. Palemon* on the Beach in Crescent City, California I had made the wool-white peppered sand. I kicked a conch and pacéd to and fro. I traveled all across the lovely land leaving behind a life I judged hollow. There was a fog-horn guiding sailors home. I thought of all that I had left behind. A light, eye-red, blinked ’neath the foggy gloam. I felt a poorness of a different kind. The road had run out. Where was I to go? A backward journey I had to go start. (I crave Communion with those who I know.) I saw a man with cardboard, cans, and cart; and knew that I was fortunate; I turned. I’d spent my nights of ennui and of woe. Palemon can go home again— I learned. I left behind a life I judged hollow. *Conventionally, any young man on a journey. Palamon appears in Chaucer’s ‘Knight’s Tale,’ an adaptation of Boccaccio’s Teseide (Norton Anthology of American Literature). See also Philip Freneau’s ‘On the Emigration to America and Peopling the Western Country,’ in which Freneau spells Palamon “Palemon” (RM). Reid McGrath is a poet living in the Hudson Valley of New York. Featured Image: “Piazza San Marco” by Canaletto. Views expressed by individual poets and writers on this website and by commenters do not represent the views of the entire Society. The comments section on regular posts is meant to be a place for civil and fruitful discussion. Pseudonyms are discouraged. The individual poet or writer featured in a post has the ability to remove any or all comments by emailing submissions@ classicalpoets.org with the details and under the subject title “Remove Comment.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) 2 Responses Sir Bul de la Ewe September 13, 2015 The Paladin Upon the beach in Crescent City, California, beneath the open skies, I saw a paladin upon the wool-white, peppered sand at the Pacific Ocean’s edge. He kicked a conch, while pacing to and fro, upon that ledge. He took to heart a fog-horn’s groaning, guiding sailors home. He thought to leave behind the hollow bubbles of the foam, the churning, breaking waves below the blinking red-eye’s glint. He felt he had come to the end, no place to leave his print. He cried out, ‘Whoa,’ in darkest nights of ennui and of woe, and learned upon that forlorn shore that it was time to go. Reply Sultana Raza June 24, 2019 I sympathize with the ‘I’ character about white noise, and the constant nonsensical chatter that fills our waves for no good reason. Very clever use of words, and a good marriage of concepts and images. Bravo! Reply Leave a Reply to Sultana Raza Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.