"Portrait of the Artist's Mother" by James Abbott McNeill Whistler‘Foolosophy’ and Other Poetry by Susan Jarvis Bryant The Society April 2, 2020 Culture, Humor, Poetry 18 Comments Foolosophy I know that I know nothing more than you, for neither of us know a single thing of relevance; I opt not to accrue vast knowledge as the price is danger’s sting. All blissful days are built on ignorance, so I forego the chance to grow aware, maintaining vacant-brained indifference, for insight is a blight—a twit’s nightmare! I breeze through bonehead days spent in a haze; I’m blessed with less ‘cause less is always more. It’s here our kindred witlessness parts ways; your faculties are governed by a flaw. I know that I know nothing and rejoice; your knuckleheaded days aren’t blessed with choice. A Half-Baked Rondeau Redoublé I’m far from young enough to know it all. With age my inner sage has paled and died. My dimmer, dumber cerebrum’s downfall leaves ever-clever youth aloof and snide. My egghead days and ways have flipped and fried, and I’ll admit my wit has hit a wall. The taunt of truth is loath to be denied— I’m far from young enough to know it all. My teenage mind was keen to wage a brawl with bores I deemed to be unqualified to comment on my canny wherewithal. With age my inner sage has paled and died. I burned to learn from each scholastic guide. At twenty there was plenty to enthrall. Elitist cheaters twisted trust and lied— my dimmer, dumber cerebrum’s downfall. My noggin’s often slogging to recall when acts and pacts and facts were bona fide. My sprawling view, now shrunk to minuscule, leaves ever-clever youth aloof and snide. I ponder times when life was amplified with certainty my dreams would never stall— that joyride of a green and prideful tide, denied because I do not know it all; I’m far from young enough. Susan Jarvis Bryant is a church secretary and poet whose homeland is Kent, England. She is now an American citizen living on the coastal plains of Texas. Susan has poetry published in the UK webzine, Lighten Up On Line, The Daily Mail, and Openings (anthologies of poems by Open University Poets). NOTE: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to email@example.com. Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here. 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) 18 Responses Sally Cook April 2, 2020 Very sagacious comments from Susan, about the witless dumb Who know it all. I am with you Ignoring those who, in a stew, Think to advise ad infinitum That we should be a lot more like ’em. Good work, Mrs. Self-defining Male Human! Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant April 2, 2020 Sally, I love your spot-on poetic comment. The ‘ad infinitum/ a lot more like ‘em” touch is a hilarious stroke of genius. You’ve cheered my morning! With much gratitude from Mrs. Self-defining Male Human LOL Reply Joe Tessitore April 2, 2020 How brilliant, insightful and funny is all of this, with so many remarkable lines and rhymes? A true tour de force! Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant April 2, 2020 I’m thrilled you enjoyed my poems and thoroughly appreciate your positive feedback. Thank you, Mr. Tessitore. Reply Mike Bryant April 2, 2020 Both of these poems are beautifully wrought, thought provoking and utterly hilarious. I especially love the technical mastery you display in the rondeau redoublé. I believe it must be said that any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Your biggest fan. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant April 2, 2020 Thank you very much for your beautiful observations and humorous disclaimer, biggest fan. You inspire me! Reply Joseph S. Salemi April 2, 2020 The rondeau redouble is the best I’ve read since Dorothy Parker’s one in her book “Enough Rope.” Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant April 2, 2020 I am over the moon with this comparison. Thank you very much, Mr. Salemi. Reply Margaret Coats April 2, 2020 As a collector of rondeaux redoubles, I am delighted to find this one. There are fewer than twenty that I’ve considered really worth collecting! You use the form well, and your distinction here is to combine a serious theme with a light touch. In that, I’m willing to compare your poem to one of the three or four best rondeaux redoubles in English, namely Louis Untermeyer’s “The Passionate Asthete to His Love,” subtitled “Andrew Lang and Oscar Wilde turn a nursery rhyme into a rondeau redouble.” Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant April 2, 2020 Thank you very much for reading and commenting on my poem, Margaret. I did a little online research and found the rondeau redoublé you mentioned – it is very impressive. I have huge admiration for the works of Oscar Wilde and Louis Untermeyer has managed to capture the essence of one of my literary heroes, together with Andrew Lang, perfectly. Your inspirational comment is a gift that fills me with joy. For that I am grateful. Reply David Watt April 4, 2020 Susan, your rondeau redouble is very skillfully written, as well as being meaningful and funny. The inclusion of internal rhymes is an added bonus. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant April 4, 2020 David, thank you very much for your appreciation. I’ve grown to love the challenge and discipline of this form and I’m thrilled the end result has paid off. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant April 4, 2020 For anyone who is a fan of the rondeau redoublé, I think this one by Wendy Cope (a huge talent in the U.K.) is a real treat. Rondeau Redouble There are so many kinds of awful men — One can’t avoid them all. She often said She’d never make the same mistake again: She always made a new mistake instead. The chinless type who made her feel ill-bred; The practised charmer, less than charming when He talked about the wife and kids and fled — There are so many kinds of awful men. The half-crazed hippy, deeply into Zen, Whose cryptic homilies she came to dread; The fervent youth who worshipped Tony Benn — ‘One can’t avoid them all,’ she often said. The ageing banker, rich and overfed, Who held forth on the dollar and the yen — Though there were many more mistakes ahead, She’d never make the same mistake again. The budding poet, scribbling in his den Odes not to her but to his pussy, Fred; The drunk who fell asleep at nine or ten — She always made a new mistake instead. And so the gambler was at least unwed And didn’t preach or sneer or wield a pen Or hoard his wealth or take the Scotch to bed. She’d lived and learned and lived and learned but then There are so many kinds. Reply Monty April 8, 2020 As I’ve already said on another page, I consider ‘Foolosophy’ to be my own personal biography. The knowledge to be gained from academia is generally only of use to the majority; but there’s always a providential minority for whom such knowledge can be a hindrance to their true purpose in life. Once they realise this, they eventually self-educate themselves about things which REALLY matter to them. Wilde touched upon this when he advised: ‘It seems to me that education is an admirable thing; but it’s worth remembering from time to time that nothing that’s worth knowing can be taught’. Regarding the half-baked ron-red . . how well and how naturally you’ve pulled it off, Susan; it must be the most difficult form of poetry to write without leaving any of the diction seeming forced. And how easily it can be compared to Cope’s piece in the way it takes its subject – its philosophy – and gradually expands upon it; which, by the end of the poem, leaves the reader able to better relate to its philosophy: or even to be in accordance with it. Talking of Cope: she happens to be in my cluster of favourite female poets (along with Stevie Smith, Selima Hill, Dorothy Parker, Patience Agbabi (hard-core), Carole Ann Duffy, Fleur Adcock, Sylvia Plath), and the form of her above poem fascinated me for years until I joined the SCP and learnt of the form ‘rondeau redoublé’ – and it’s accompanying rules. Until then, I always thought it was a form she’d composed herself! Foolosophy indeed. Are you aware of her book from which the above poem came: ‘Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis’? It’s full of the same wit and sarcasm prevalent in many of your poems (one such is called ‘Engineer’s Corner’ which, I feel, would be right up your street). Reply Rod Walford April 8, 2020 Thank you Susan – I really enjoyed both of these! I greatly admire your skill with semantics – I confess I am not a poet who knows many technical terms ( Rondeau Redouble ( sorry I can’t do the acute accent on this keyboard 🙂 is completely new to me but your piece and the comments that followed have helped me understand. Come to think of it I’m sure I have written one without knowing it! Great work – silky, smooth and above all – very true! Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant April 11, 2020 Thank you, Rod! I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. I’m glad you enjoyed them. I hope you find and post your rondeau redoublé – it’s fast becoming one of my favorite forms. Reply Leland James February 2, 2021 Congratulations on your win. The poem was great fun. I’m pasting one of mine, a cousin poem as it were.–Leland James A Warm Spring Brain There’s a pea-size place in the human brain that measures hot and cold. Temperature, it’s said (those who ought to know) can make us kind, cranky, or bold. Waiters get more tips on summer days —tips get slow at two below. In springtime’s glow, love fills the air and wedding gowns get sold. I think therefore I am, but only by degrees. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant February 4, 2021 Leland, thank you very much for your kind words and thank you for “A Warm Spring Brain” – it’s witty, wonderful and I love it! With much gratitude… keep those poems coming! 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. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.