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.

19 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. 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).

      Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  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
      • 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.

    • 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.

      Reply
    • 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.

      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. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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

Leave a Reply to Wilbur Dee Case Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.