Paean to “ODE TO JOY”*

I heard the “Ode to Joy” today,
ten thousand times at least.
I could not hold my heart at bay,
engorging on a feast
of melody, of majesty,
of rhythmic palpitations,
while soaring in full harmony
with Heaven’s exaltations.
The clustered chords embraced my soul,
sustaining strains sublime
of resonance beyond control
above the staff of time.
Celestial voices raised the theme
in joy that did inspire
a cadence that would surely seem
born of  the inner fire
of  he who could not hear one note
with which he could discern
the artistry, that as he wrote,
past tribulations spurned.
The “Ode” exploded with the might
Beethoven had released
and blessed  the earth with such delight
perversion’s rapture ceased.
I heard the “Ode to Joy” today,
ten thousand times too few.

*From Beethoven’s final and greatest symphony, written after he had gone deaf.



She was my first true love,
Her name was Nelaveeve;
And when she sat down next to me
Her shoulder rubbed my sleeve.

She threw a smile my way.
My heart went flippity-flop.
I simply had to kiss the girl,
I knew I could not stop.

So when she turned to me
I grabbed her and I kissed.
I’m pretty sure I hit her mouth,
Though others say I missed.

She jumped and pulled away,
Right there in English Class.
The other students gasped and gulped;
I guess they thought me crass.

But Nelaveeve was mine.
I wanted nothing more;
Until she turned away from me
And threw up on the floor.

As true love disappears
Like fine wine from the cup;
It’s rather hard to win the heart
Of one you make upchuck.


Pandora Revisited

The evils of mankind flew out
  Like bats at fall of night;
    To every corner of the earth,
      Far from Pandora’s sight.
For she, entrusted by the gods,
  Was charged to hold them fast
    Within the box ordained by Jove
      When first all time was cast.
Among it’s contents…vanity,
  Lies, and slander…greed.
    And envy, pinning with them too,
      All sprung from evil’s seed.
And though this was well known to her,
  Yet still she sought to see…
    For Jove had cursed her with the gift
      Of curiosity.
This force undoing reason then
  Compelled her to remove
    The lid from off the sacred box,
    He  r weakness thus to prove.
And now all souls on earth must bear
  The wretchedness that she
    Unleashed when she removed the lid
      And set the evils free.
Yet with them we do persevere
  Our mortal will to cope…
    For left within the arcane box
      Remained the gift of…hope.
Pandora closed the lid in time,
  The benefactors…we;
    For with this gift, this priceless gift,
      We seek our destiny.


Don Shook, past president of the Fort Worth Poetry Society is a writer, actor, director and producer who has worked with such stars as Dick Clark, Cybil Shepherd, Debbie Reynolds and Betty Buckley.  Formerly with NBC in New York, he has performed in theatre, film and television across the country including Carnegie Hall, New York City and five years as a resident performer at Casa Manana Musicals in Fort Worth.  He is the author of five novels and five poetry books and was named by Angels Without Wings as the 2009 Senior Poet Laureate of Texas.

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5 Responses

  1. b

    hahaha. lol. very very funny. ten thousand times to few…laughter. and lucidity.

    —for the record– i don’t like having to prove i’m not a robot
    –but to each his own

    • b

      i really didn’t do it justice–humor– wow– you are a speck in a long cloudy sky

      • Jillian

        What am I missing here? Sarcasm or not — and which poem(s) with which comments?

  2. Michael

    I found all of the work very enjoyable, especially “Nelaveeve”, an amusing and well-structured piece.


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