"The Death of Socrates" by Jacques-Louis David‘The Day the Poetry Died’ and Other Poetry by Steven Shaffer The Society March 7, 2018 Beauty, Culture, Poetry 11 Comments The Day the Poetry Died Wonder why poetry is in decline, While not ever writing one lyric line? There is no experience more perverse, Than self-indulgent poems in free verse. Your pain, your angst, and existential doubt, Pretension endured day in and day out. Deep thoughts, believed you’re the first to discern, Which all human-kind must now be concerned. Substance, once required in days gone by, Now regurgitated thoughts do qualify. Banal pabulums we already know, If you can’t be deep, at least have a flow! Dryden and Pope are cut to the marrow, When we’re taught to adore “The red wheelbarrow.” Free verse, written without breaking a sweat, It’s “like playing tennis without a net.” “Give Us Barabbas!” When reason and truth have both gone astray, Political correctness rules the day. When everyone lies without compunction, Time for societal extreme unction. Rules of discourse, now a Gordian knot, Yet breaking them will incite a boycott. “Never upset me” is the law of the land, You know “a house divided cannot stand.” “Don’t speak your mind with thoughts undesired, Without a doubt we will all get you fired.” When others’ thoughts have been laid to rest, It seems your ideas must now be addressed. You’re top of the heap, then the crowd doth spew: “Give us Barabbas!” and then comes for you. Steven Shaffer’s other art form is computer code, which supports his poetry habit. He lives in a suburb of the middle of nowhere in central Pennsylvania with his wife and two dogs. Blog is My So-Called Civilization NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets. 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CODEC News:Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 11 Responses James Sale March 7, 2018 Very neat poetry – like it! Especially, the red wheelbarrow line and the final line on Barrabas – how true! Reply Sally Cook March 7, 2018 I share your ideas. You sound sane; unusual in this age of angst Keep on! Reply Joe Tessitore March 7, 2018 Right on, brother Steve! Reply Steven Shaffer March 7, 2018 Thanks everyone, it means a lot. Until a few weeks ago, I literally thought I was the only person left who liked classic poetry. I’m a big fan of Alexander Pope, esp. “An Essay on Criticism.” Reply B. S. Eliud Acrewe March 7, 2018 I share Mr. Shaffer’s enthusiam for Pope’s “Essay on Criticism”. And though in some ways I do not think it is as polished as Horace’s “Ars Poetica,” I like it better; and critically, between Dryden and Johnson, no other work reaches its critical mass. In addition, Pope wrote “Essay on Criticism” when he was 23. I would even go so far as to say it is the greatest single piece of literary citicism in the English language. Although I personally cannot imagine English literature without Dryden or Pope, not everyone @ SCP (Society of Classical Poets) appreciates their remarkable literary accomplishments; however, what is so nice @ SPC is that one can find others who may share one’s poetic vision, or even others who will argue civilly, occasionally brusquely, with one. Canadian writer Mr. Gosselin, for example, in his antagonism for the kind of poetry that Dryden wrote, brings up important qualities to consider, etc. This site is undoubtedly one of the best sites for “classical” English poetry anywhere on the Internet; and it is due to the hard work of individuals, like Mr. Mantyk, Mr. Philipp, Mr. Yu, Ms. Pentchoukova, and so many others. They have done an excellent job in promoting the revival and proliferation of good, new poetry. And even if at times our poems on this site fall short, I am reminded by Pope: “Whoever thinks a faultless piece to see, Thinks what ne’er was, nor is, nor e’er shall be, In every work regard the writer’s end, Since none can compass more than they intend; And if the means be just, the conduct true, Applause, in spite of trivial faults, is due.” Reply James Sale March 9, 2018 Yes, BSEA is right: three cheers for Evan and the crew – it is a remarkable production, and has given hope to so many, myself included. Reply Fr. Richard Libby March 7, 2018 Congratulations, Mr. Shaffer! Well done! Reply David Paul Behrens March 7, 2018 You hit the nail on the head, Steven. It reminds me of a short poem I wrote about five years ago: POETRY Poetry that rhymes May be out of fashion Unfortunately for me It is my passion Just like a king Must wear his crown If it does not rhyme I don’t write it down Thank goodness for The Society of Classical Poets! Reply James A. Tweedie March 8, 2018 David, I love your poem and fully agree with your comment. It is why I have also become an enthusiastic member of the SCP. There is, however, another side to the story which I have also put into verse. We walk a fine line! Pomposity in verse Is English at its worst. And even less sublime is Such drivel when it rhymes. Reply David Hollywood March 11, 2018 Excellent, and what a relief to read during these times of so much awful poetry which is supposed to be interpreted by the rest of us as genius in action. Thank you and great sentiment. Reply Steven Shaffer March 12, 2018 Thanks again, all! I really relish the interaction. Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. Δ This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.