Somewhere about there’s a slithering sound of man’s enmity,
causing excitement and casting the seeds of calamity,
claiming enlightened revision of old postmodernity.
Oh! But the thought is as novel as man in eternity.

Lewis and Ransom have shown us to view the transhumanists
in the same light as Mark Studdock and Feverstone’s futurists:
some are as wholly committed as Babylon’s atheists;
others are following blindly the lure of these dataists.

Tempted to self-exultation, they’re striving for deity;
how can this hideous fate be the talk of society?
Dreams that dilute all the values and truth of humanity,
genuine glory exchanged for a dead singularity.


Forgive Me, Dactyl

(see Pentadactyl)

Thinking again about dactyls and how they don’t tolerate
stress out of place or the sneaky insertion of syllables,
gladly and humbly I wonder, perhaps I should moderate
poetry calling them dinosaurs, bigots and imbeciles.

P’raps we should think of a dactyl as champion of chastity,
raising the banner of vehement structural sanctity,
hating the sin of iambic compulsion of poetry,
leading the poet in pathways of diligent purity.


Joe Spring lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa. For more information please visit

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10 Responses

  1. Joe Tessitore

    What a pair – of poems, that is!

    “dinosaurs, bigots and imbeciles” is spectacular, and a great way to start the day!

  2. Michael Dashiell

    I read a little about Transhumanism. It began with Decartes it seems but has now extended to a computer view of the world, that we’re all programs created by cosmic overlords. It hopes we’ll be rendered an afterlife, yet it too a program. I think it’s original yet far fetched, and has no more credibility that established religion. I sounds more like a side effect of our dependency on and wide and personal relationship with computers.

    • Joe Spring

      Yes, it’s taken a few forms, and is certainly nothing new. Transhumanism is not synonymous with the Singularity concept, but they’re quite closely paired in this latest manifestation. As I listened to some explanations and arguments around the topic, it made me think of CS Lewis’s “That Hideous Strength”, a modern Babylonian problem. Will it happen? No. Does that make it a harmless philosophy? No.

  3. C.B. Anderson

    I thought the rhymes in both poems were rather sketchy I won’t go into detail, because I have commented on similar infelicities in the past. Either you see it, or you don’t.

    • Joe Spring

      Hi CB.

      Thanks for your feedback. I don’t think you need to be as dismissive as “either you see it, or you don’t.” Please don’t tire of constructive criticism. There’s more hope than that, as we edify each other.

      Where near-rhymes pop up in our society’s poetry, perhaps we can consider which ones are intentional, which ones are tolerable, and which ones are erroneous (which should be tested by asking the poet, “did you think this rhymed perfectly?”). Would you draw the line of classical poetry at strict, perfect rhyme? I’m concerned that if we only accept perfect rhymes, we might never touch topics like “enmity”, and we’d be stuck on old topics of loves and doves.

      As it is, I feel that there is sufficient phonetic beauty in the line-endings to keep the listener engaged in what’s being said – and is this the primary purpose of our art?

      • Joe Tessitore

        I appreciate your response.
        I, who write like a precision instrument, truly appreciate others who don’t.
        I often wish that I could follow my own advice:

        Be like the Dervish
        in his trance;
        Set free your words
        and watch them dance.

      • C.B. Anderson

        All right, then.

        enmity/calamity: what’s being rhymed here is -ty/-ty, which is, I’m sure you will admit, a rather trivial rhyme. -mity/-mity does not really obtain because “-mi-” is an unstressed syllable and, as such, cannot really carry a rhyme. calamity/amity is better because the stressed lam/am would carry the load, with
        -ity simply being the extension of each word.

        modernity/eternity works well enough.

        In the second stanza ists/ists/ists/ists is again trivial. It’s probably a bad idea in general to use standard suffixes as a rhyming element. I’m not speaking to slant rhyme here, but just to the mechanics of creating strong rhymes.

        And then we have -y/-y/-y/-y, with the same objections as noted above. Good rhymes for the end words you have chose might be deity(if pronounced with a long “a”)/laity, society/piety, humanity/urbanity, singularity/charity.

        To touch on slant rhymes, how about tragedy/strategy? You could look at as a rhyme of -dy/-gy, but also note that every syllable assonates with its counterpart, with the consonants interchanged.

        I find the rhymes in the first stanza charming in a slant way. The consonants don’t match up, but the vowels show nice assonance.

        -ty/-ty/-ry/-ty in the second stanza. I think I’ve covered this.

        Another problem, according to some authorities, is the overuse of abtract nouns as end-rhymed words. I personally don’t have a big problem with this, but you will tend to have a lot of words ending in -ism, -tion, -ness and so forth.

        Have you got something against loves and doves? One may write about enmity without using it as an end rhyme. How about good old simple hate?

  4. Joe Spring

    Thanks CB. Good point on the word endings ist/ism/ness/y, etc. I found a good pair of deity/aseity in another of my poems, and didn’t want to repeat its usage in this one. (Ode to the Spirit of Aseity, on my website). As for calamity/amity pattern, dactyls provide quite a challenge there and I’m satisfied to rhyme on the unstressed parts.

    I hadn’t heard of slant rhymes but the description makes sense. A useful tool in a rhyme-poor language. I don’t like being limited to words with obvious rhymes (hate is much less of a story than emnity, and love/dove is indeed beautiful, nothing against them individually, but many in our community would lynch such easy pairing. How tedious those songs we hear on the radio.)


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