"Macbeth Instructing the Murderers Employed to Kill Banquo" by George Cattermole‘The King’ and Other Poetry by Michael Witcoff The Society July 11, 2020 Culture, Poetry 8 Comments The King Lying lips win praise and fame, And money, pow’r and wealth; They grant great glory for your name But cost the price of self. For once a man betrays his plans To be upright and true, That blackening corruption finds A crack to slither through. And every further step he takes Away from good and right Is one less chance to stop the snake Before day turns to night. That pull of cash and fancy clothes Has pushed him towards a fall, And though he’s got the world, he knows That he’s got nothing at all. And so, alone, upon his throne, That king without a crown Becomes a god to minds of men But to the saints, a clown. Freedom’s Heavy Yoke It seems that man is most enslaved by freedom— As when he’s left unto his own devices, The passions always over-rule the reason. A mind weighed down by choices, badly beaten Into submission by conflicting voices; It seems that man is most enslaved by freedom. And man will make his money via treason When he runs out of patience for fair prizes; His passions always over-rule his reason. And faced with branching paths like back in Eden He tends to pleasure, never sacrifices. It seems that man is most enslaved by freedom. Of wand’ring eyes and devil’s impulse seeded, A dose of dopamine, mind-fire ignited; The passions always over-rule the reason. Until help from Eternity is pleaded; Divine assistance, finally invited; It seems that man is most enslaved by freedom, And passions always over-rule his reason. Michael Witcoff is an Orthodox Christian and Oblate of St. Benedict. He is a best-selling author from Chicago, Illinois. 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 firstname.lastname@example.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. 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) 8 Responses James A. Tweedie July 11, 2020 Michael, Two fine poems containing much to ponder. My favorite line in The King also (by chance) happens to be the most awkward since the emPHAsis falls on the wrong sylLAble: And though he’s got the world, he knows That he’s got nothing at all. You added the “That” but it doesn’t work for me for several reasons (too many syllables and now the “got” is un-emphasized whereas it is EMphasized in the previous line.) For what it’s worth, I’d like it better without the “That.” As for the subject of the poem, it must hard to be an absolute monarch, and, given human nature, perhaps impossible to be a good one. Even so, there are more than a few who have attained the status of “Saint” including Wenceslaus, Justinian, Louis IX, Canute, Constantine, etc. God bless ’em. I couldn’t do it! As for the villanelle, well done. What shines brightest is that it makes sense (which is always the hardest part in composing one). One caveat, however. I stumbled over the word “aways,” which means, of course, “without exception.” This is not true, of course, for “reason” trumps “passion” more often than not, even in complete freedom, if for no other purpose than that of self-interest. Personally, I would have hedged the line by writing, “The passions tend to over-rule the reason.” Even so, it’s your poem and your understanding of human behavior. And the poem is well-constructed, regardless. I enjoyed the poems including the thought that went into them and the thought they generated in me as I read them. Reply Michael Witcoff July 12, 2020 Thank you for the feedback. I went back and forth on adding the “that,” adding it because I didn’t want the “thing” in “noTHING” to be emphasized, as I imagined might happen if the line were read as the others were meant to be read. It seemed to me that either way that line would have to be a little different compared to the others. Your point on having “got” emphasized the same way both times is well-taken and I appreciate that comment; it’s given me something to think about that didn’t occur to me at the time, and which I can use to improve and revise my other ones 🙂 Reply Joe Tessitore July 12, 2020 I liked the message of “The King”, but structurally it’s all over the place. I believe it’s a given that when you introduce a rhyme and/or a meter pattern, it should be maintained throughout. “The King” fails to do so. I loved the impact of its final verse, but think it could have been structurally tightened up as follows: And so he sits upon his throne, A king without a crown. A god to minds of men alone, But to the saints, a clown. Reply Michael Witcoff July 12, 2020 It’s heptameter, with line breaks between every fourth and fifth feet. Reply Michael Witcoff July 12, 2020 Iambic* heptameter, with a truncated iamb to start the poem. Joe Tessitore July 12, 2020 Me and my ignorance! Reply Michael Witcoff July 12, 2020 No worries 🙂 If you read it out loud as iambic pentameter, the structure will probably reveal itself better than with silent reading. Reply MW July 12, 2020 *Heptameter 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.