When You Love

When you love
The heart of one,
Life makes sense
With each new sun.

You start each day
With thoughts of her.
You do your best
“We” must endure.

To be the man
She sees in you,
You now trust this—
With her, can do.

And it may be
Due to your heart,
She too steps up
To play her part.

Her part in life
With you begun.
Life now makes sense
When two are one.

 

 

Of Having & Missing

The poet writes
Sometimes of now,
Of what he has—
His who and how.

The happy poet
Writes for fun,
To celebrate
Time in the sun.

But surely poems
Show for us most
What once were there
And now are ghosts.

And softest, saddest
Poems are those
Of where he knocked
And found doors closed.

Where he sought friends
Who chose him not,
So focused they
On what they’ve got.

Where he sought love
So many times—
As often as
The Church bells chime.

And he was left
With sounds so sad,
And nothing more
He found he had.

Perhaps you’ll hear
His funeral bells
And then befriend
And love him well.

 

 

Michael Charles Maibach began writing poems at age nine.  Since then he has continued writing poems, and sharing them with friends.  In November 2015 he opened a Facebook page – Poems of Michael Charles Maibach.  It offers 140 poems written since then. His career has involved global business diplomacy.  He is a native of Peoria, Illinois.  Today Michael resides in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.  


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 mbryant@classicalpoets.org. 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.

29 Responses

  1. David Gosselin

    Dear Michael,

    Nice sentiment in the second poem. I like this ballad form, the movement of the idea from stanza to stanza. The short line lengths make for an economical, yet free and profound thematic development.

    I wrote a piece in the same form a while back. Your second piece made me think of it:

    Why Should We Weep

    Why should we weep
    For the life that flies
    Lasting no longer
    Than an angel’s sighs?

    And why should we weep
    For a lover’s voice
    —Silenced long ago—
    By Fate’s fickle choice?

    And why should we weep
    As the rose’s bloom
    Wafts its sweet fragrance,
    Then falls to its doom?

    For should we then weep
    Knowing that the sage,
    Like a purloined breath,
    Has flown from his cage?

    And should we then weep
    Fighting to withhold
    The tears that could stain
    A cheek once so bold?

    If love once embraced
    Must decay to ash
    Or vanish in tears
    From a maiden’s lash?

    Why can we not weep
    If the morning rose,
    Amid vernal rains,
    Sheds her sorrows?

    If the saddest thoughts
    Can like lightning’s flash
    Be the phoenixes,
    That arise from ash?

    If the poet’s pains
    Which the muses sing
    Is thought on this earth
    A beautiful thing?

    Best,

    David

    Reply
  2. C.B. Anderson

    Michael,

    I’m not quite sure what either you or Mr. Gosselin set out to accomplish with this “form,” but don’t give up your day job.

    Reply
    • Michael

      Why are the people in these comments so cruel? I can’t think of more worthless, masturbatory feedback than discouraging people just because you can.

      Reply
      • Monty

        I’m surprised that you’re surprised that your poems attracted criticism; they both contain segments of unclear diction – ‘You do your best we must endure’ . . ‘You now trust this – with her, can do’ . . ‘Her part in life with you begun’ . . ‘Of what he has – his who and how’ . . ‘Poems show for us most what once were there’ – and of all your attempted rhymes in both pieces, less than half of them actually rhyme.

        Also, in the following stanza . .

        Where he SOUGHT friends
        Who CHOSE him not,
        So focused they
        On what they’ve GOT.

        . . the first two lines are in the past tense, but the fourth line is in the present tense. Thus, either the last line should read:
        ‘On what they had’ (past tense)
        or the first two lines should read:
        ‘Where he seeks friends
        Who choose him not’ (present tense).

      • David Gosselin

        Dear Michael,

        I don’t think the criticism above is very reflective of your poem’s merits.

        The small suggestions I would make are very simple things that might just make the poem flow a bit better without changing anything substantial:

        The poet writes
        Sometimes of now,
        Of what he has—
        His who and how.

        The happy poet
        Writes for fun,
        To celebrate
        Time in the sun. – – – And praise the sun.

        But surely poems
        Show for us most
        What once were there – – the things that were,
        And now are ghosts. – – Which now are ghosts.

        And (The) softest, saddest
        Poems are those
        Of where he knocked – – That say he knocked
        And found doors closed.

        Where he sought friends
        Who chose him not,
        So focused they
        On what they’ve got.

        Where he sought love
        So many time(s)
        As often as
        The Church bell chime(s)

        And he was left
        With sounds (songs) so sad,
        And (When) nothing more
        He found he had.

        Perhaps you’ll hear
        His funeral bells – – (His death-knell swell)
        And then befriend; – – become his friend
        And love him well.

      • Monty

        Well, there’s a piece of irony, Dave.. if ever I’ve seen one. I suggested a few changes in the diction which (to use your words) “might just make the poem flow a bit better”; and you say it was undeserved. And yet.. you then went on to suggest your own changes in the diction “which might just make the poem flow a bit better”. Thus, what you’re actually saying is . . your suggestions are deserved, and mine are undeserved.

      • C.B. Anderson

        Write better poems, and it won’t happen.

  3. Evan Mantyk

    Thank you, Michael, for you poems! I find them charming and refreshing in a world grown cynical. I remember you reading in person with a bowtie on. It was a beautiful scene. I know others will disagree with me, but in the judging of poetry, there is more than words that define it; there is a way of life communicated that cannot be quantified or easily analyzed. In this regard, you excel. (Is such a criterion a slippery slope? It is in the wrong hands)

    To Mr. Anderson, I say, I hope no poet quits his day job or else I suspect he will need food stamps no matter how good he is.

    To Monty, the movement of time seems exceptionally well executed in the second poem. The first stanza says “sometimes of now.” We begin with a scene in the present that very naturally moves into scenes in flashback, “what once were there.” And in the final stanza everything is crystalized back in the present, where we reflect upon the future.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Some say poetry is a science where all meter and rhyme must be perfect. But, it goes far beyond that. It often speaks to the soul, and the science of poetry then becomes secondary. Evan, I believe you have expressed this sentiment perfectly.

      Reply
      • C.B. Anderson

        Susan,

        And if the speaking is incoherent, what then? I have noticed that everything you write is cogent, rhythmic, and to the point. If I am hyper-critical, then does that make you hypocritical?

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        C.B.,
        To answer your question, I firmly believe a poem has many facets to consider. For me, Mr. Maibach’s poems speak from the heart to the heart with a purity that touches me. I like the simplicity and sunshine in the explanation of love in the opening stanza of the first poem. I agree with the sentiment and it makes me smile. I like the closing stanza for the same reason. It adds light and sincerity to a subject that is often suffocated by overblown language and heavy analysis.

        I’m also drawn to poetry that speaks of the art of writing and the heart of the writer. For me, “Of Having & Missing” does both. Like Margaret, I am intrigued by the riddle-like aspect. Does it mean that the sometimes the lonely life of a poet is often only appreciated posthumously? Whatever it may mean, I’m swept up in the intrigue.

        C.B, you are half right. You are indeed hypercritical.

    • Monty

      As it happens, Mr Mantyk, I can’t remember the last time I criticised a poem on these pages (maybe not this year); and in a way, I didn’t do so on this occasion. My normal policy is . . . When a poem does something to me, I give praise – often effusively. When it does nothing to me (typically because either I don’t relate to the subject; or I feel it’s not very well written), then I generally make no comment, and simply delete it; on to the next poem.

      And that would’ve happened on this occasion: but before deleting it, I noticed how taken aback and seemingly-shocked Michael was with CB’s words (“masturbatory”!) And given that CB chose not to elaborate, I thought I might make a few suggestions to Michael as to what CB might be getting at . . as opposed to any direct criticism from myself.

      But the “form” to which CB referred is important. Attempting to write a poem with such short lines necessitates the omission of many normally-vital prepositions (to: of: in: on: at, etc); and to write under such severely restrictive conditions – four syllables per-line: no room for prepositions – requires the utmost care and attention-to-detail with the diction. Without such care, the poem can inevitably appear to be written in broken-English, or written by one for whom English is not their native tongue.

      I’m sure that I personally would never have the patience to even attempt such a delicate and intricate task; I feel I’d soon get frustrated with the restrictions . . . but, incidentally, CB himself wrote a poem last year in a similar style (maybe four syllables per line); and he somehow pulled it off. I was really impressed at how he managed to maintain lucid diction throughout.

      p.s. If you catch this, Michael: I hope you didn’t take my words personally. I wasn’t suggesting that your poems should be “scientific”; I was just pointing out what CB may’ve been referring to as a few lapses in basic diction.

      Reply
      • C.B. Anderson

        Monty,

        You’ve caught my gist. I could write a thousand or more words about what is wrong with these poems, but it would be a waste of time. One word should suffice: incondite.

      • Monty

        It may seem as though I’m simply jumping on the bandwagon, CB, but if I had to use one word to describe the two pieces above (especially the first), it would be that same word: incondite.

        Just because the two pieces caused one reader to feel ‘touched by purity’ and a ‘heart-to-heart from the author’; and another reader to label the pieces as ‘satisfying’ and in ‘a lovely, logical structure’ . . . does that mean we must conclude: “Oh well, if the two pieces contain all those attributes which others have felt, then they can’t possibly be incondite”. They can! And they are!

        In general, the ‘feelings’ some may gain from a poem are not necessarily dependent on the quality of the writing; they can just as easily be gained from the narrative or the subject of the piece REGARDLESS of the quality of writing (which seems to be the case above). Thus, it’s perfectly possible for a poem to be able to touch some people in certain ways, but still be only an average poem, due to how it’s written. The fact that it ‘touched’ someone(s) must NEVER be the criteria by which a poem’s merits are judged. That’s the peril of sentimentality. A poem can touch a hundred people in a hundred different ways; that’s just a matter of interpretation. But the quality of its writing is fixed and constant.

        For a poem to be elevated from ‘average’ to ‘good’, it must contain all such traits as mentioned by other readers above . . but must ALSO be well-written. Only then can it become a ‘good’ poem. In relation to the above pieces . . if anyone would like to see an example of a four-syllables-per-line poem written beautifully, skilfully and adeptly, then I implore you to punch the name Adam Sedia into the search-bar, and find his poem from October 2018 titled ‘All Hallow’s Eve’. His skill is breathtaking.

    • C.B. Anderson

      Evan,

      To paraphrase something that Joseph Salemi has occasionally written: The purpose of poetry should not be to say something good, but to say something (howsoever good or bad it might be) well. If a poet fails in this, then the “poetry” is not worth the pixels it takes to present it. I believe Mr. Maibach has failed utterly.

      Reply
  4. Margaret Coats

    “When You Love” is simple words in a lovely logical structure–a satisfying poem. “Of Having & Missing” is a riddle. When returning to the title after reading the poem, one asks, “Who is ‘having’?” “Who is ‘missing’?” The sad subject of the story? The sad poet? Those who ignored poet and subject? The questions make it a richer riddle.

    Reply
  5. Rob Crisell

    I agree wholeheartedly with the substance and sentiment of the comments of Evan, Michael, and Susan above. As a newcomer to SCP, it is always a shock to me that the comments sections is often so negative and–at times–even toxic. I’m not sure why this is the case. I suppose it must be some a version of Sayre’s law: “In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues at stake.”

    Here’s an idea: If you don’t enjoy a poem–or can’t think of anything specific or constructive that might help the poet improve it–don’t say anything at all. Move along to the next poem. What is the point of tearing one another apart? Why purpose is served by engaging in epic, trolling battles that are often unrelated with the original poem itself? The clan of “formal poets”–and, for the matter, readers of formal poetry–is small. Why make it smaller?

    Reply
  6. Rob Crisell

    I agree wholeheartedly with the substance and sentiment of the comments of Evan, Michael, and Susan. As a newcomer to SCP, it is always a bit shocking and disappointing to me that the comments section is often so negative and–at times–even toxic. I’m not sure why this must be the case. I suppose it has to do with Sayre’s law: “In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues at stake.”

    Here’s an idea: If you don’t enjoy a poem, or if you can’t think of anything positive to say–or anything constructive and specific that might help the poet improve it–don’t say anything at all. Move along to the next poem. What is the point of tearing one another apart? What purpose is served by engaging in invective and epic, trolling battles, often unrelated to the original poem itself? The clan of “formal poets”–and, for that matter, readers of formal poetry–is small. Why make it smaller?

    Reply
    • C.B. Anderson

      Rob,

      You began with with a very intelligent statement involving inverse proportionality, but then you went on to write something very stupid, which amounts to nothing more than that old saw: If you don’t have something good to say, then say nothing at all. Whatever happened to honest opinion? Has it now been shit-canned? While I agree that it is a good idea to encourage aspiring poets to write good verse, do you really think it a good thing, as some here have done, to praise writers for writing defective (i.e. bad) verse?

      Reply
    • Monty

      If you care to read the first paragraph of my reply to Mr Mantyk, Rob.. you’ll see that I always do exactly as you suggest – to the letter. If I “don’t enjoy a poem”, and I “can’t find anything positive to say” about it, I “don’t say anything at all”: and I “move along to the next poem”. Hence I trust your comment wasn’t directed at me.

      Reply
    • Mike Bryant

      Rob Crisell,
      We have a rather odd situation.
      First, we have CBA, a selections editor that vehemently disagrees with the mission of this website and who does not know the difference between constructive criticism and personal attacks.
      Second, this same editor who loves nothing more than to sow discord with his condescension and rudeness.
      Third, this same editor loves to pit people against each other, and I admit he has used me in this way before. I ain’t falling for it again.
      Fourth, we have a wonderful site that has a place called “workshop” where people have asked for feedback, and yet the selections editor prefers to tear people down in their own space where the site says that it will be a place to invite their family and friends.
      Last… as long as this schizophrenic activity is allowed the site will never grow and we will be of no help to anyone whatsoever.

      I’m all for freedom of speech, but the actions of this editor are analogous to yelling FIRE in a theater. I know because so many have already left. The only difference is that his actions hurt the site and all it has worked for, while only helping him to get his sick jollies…

      Of course, I’m just a plumber and I’m sure the selections editor, will shortly beat me down to size all while Mr. Maibach looks on in astonishment… never to return again, like so many others.

      By the way, your point is right on target. You’re not stupid and neither are the many others who have called him down before.

      Reply
      • C.B. Anderson

        Mike,

        I can almost see the smoke coming out of your ass, but do you actually have anything to say? Please provide the list, the official list, of those who have left this site due to criticisms by me, MacKenzie, or by anyone else. Your problem, Mike, is that you approve of honesty only when it suits your particular bent. Attend your own pipes!

  7. Rob Crisell

    Very well said, Mike. And very, well, sad. But I will not make any more comments in what is ostensibly supposed to a page dedicated to the poems of Mr. Maibach, to whom I apologize.

    Reply
  8. Mark F. Stone

    Michael, When a comment on a poem is gratuitously mean or rude, and does not make any specific suggestions about the poem, I think the comment actually says little about the poem and says a lot about the personality and character of the commenter. My suggestion is that all of us simply ignore such comments.

    Reply
  9. Mark F. Stone

    And just to be clear, I have no problem whatsoever with honest criticism. I just think we should be respectful and cordial with one another.

    Reply
    • Mike Bryant

      Mr. Stone, being respectful is the policy of this site. As the outreach poet, and as a huge supporter of this site, do you really believe that ignoring a problem that has impacted membership so negatively is the way forward? This page is supposed to be the residence of Mr. Maibach. If someone treated you like he’s been treated in your own house in front of your wife and kids would you ignore him or show him the door? And if this person worked for you and repeatedly treated your customers in this same way in your house in front of you and yours would that be ok too?

      Reply
  10. The Society

    Dear Mr. Bryant and Others,

    Just to clarify, the only editor of the website, which acts as an online journal and at times a de facto workshop, is me. Mr. Anderson aids in the editing of the printed Journal. Out of probably 700 or so poems, he has to select about 150 or so. (I am also the chief editor of the Journal and do make additions and subtractions from his selections, though not that many.) Mr. Anderson puts in many hours doing the sifting and I notice that many of the poems he negatively criticizes, he actually selects for the Journal, which is to say that he sees gold and wants to encourage people to keep digging, in my understanding (correct me if I’m wrong, Mr. Anderson). I thank Mr. Anderson for the many hours he has volunteered!

    One of the wonders of the SCP is the wide participation we have, from East Coast to West Coast USA to the UK to France to South Africa to Australia and New Zealand. However, this also has a downside. I think in this conversation we see some regional clashes. In my experience, traveling to Texas and knowing people from the South, there is a highly admirable warmth, gentlemanliness, sense of propriety, that we lack in the North and could use more of. People are predictably cold and standoffish in the Midwest (where I grew up) and even more so in the Northeast, where Mr. Anderson and I now reside. One generally accepted way of interacting with people is to casually lob an insult and demonstrate mild irritation with him or her. This is, unfortunately, a deeply engrained attitude. From another perspective, perhaps such comments are a sort of right of initiation, creating self-doubt in the listener, which he or she should rise to overcome and become stronger for since much harsher criticism (“fascist doggerel” “stale and boring” or whatever you find worse) will come later on in a journey as a publicly situated poet. Just trying to see both sides here.

    When I hear Mr. Anderson’s criticisms, I take him to be essentially saying the same thing, “look at your meter, your rhyme, your basic grammar, and your coherence,” which are good reminders. There must be a hierarchy of what makes good poetry. However, though I think we all wish he would, he does not spell it out, which is his prerogative, just as it is Mr. Maibach’s prerogative to have his comment and any other comment thrown out.

    As a whole, I hope we can all work together more and support each more, creating a better environment for classical poetry to flourish, but also remember a key ingredient in this is not leaving out crucial, constructive criticism.

    -Evan Mantyk

    Reply
  11. Mike Bryant

    Evan,
    There is no excuse for rudeness anywhere.
    Please remove my name from the membership roll.
    Thanks,
    Mike

    Reply
  12. Wilbur Dee Case

    What is remarkable about Mr. Maibach’s “When You Love” is the simplicity of the diction. In such a work, even the tiniest of flaws can glare; take, for example, the clipped “can do”. But also poetic achievements are writ large; take, for example, the extraordinary alliterative achievement of “She too steps up/ To play her part.”

    Though neither poem is Shakespearean, categorically they seem to be in the realm of the songs in his plays. And though I am not fond of short poems generally (except maybe Heine’s), I found “Of Having & Missing” interesting, doing things that surprised me. It begins in Cummingsesque (or childlike) simplicity, until it reaches “ghosts”, and then it descends into what seems to me unredeemable, quiet tragedy. I cannot place the voice [Is it Wordsworth’s Lucy Poems?], but its starkness is almost classical, and as Mr. Mantyk pointed out, “charming” even while it seems maudlin.

    As my poetry has been constantly attacked for decades, at countless free-verse venues, as well as at formalist poetry venues, I think I can offer this advice to Mr. Maibach. Bring the full force of your own poetic knowledge and power, and argue back against your critics; for I guarantee you there is no critic @ SCP (or elsewhere, for that matter) who is not flawed in his or her vision of poetry—not one.

    Reply

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