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Appeal to the Muse

O Saint Cecilia, more than just a muse—
The very author by this pen and ink—
I plead thy help, and never wish to lose
Assistance at the quill, or in the rink.
For Art is cutthroat; those who try may sink,
And much of ego spills upon the page.
Please prop my eyes when sleep extends a blink,
And iambs play about me like a cage.
With help of thine, Cecilia, all the age
Will wish me well, with triumph of the Arts,
An antidote to envy and to rage,
A shield to block The Cynical his darts.
Please place thy beauty straight about my quill,
That all who read will take away their fill!

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O Children, Hear

In a world of corruption, a world made up of
____What is fast, what is loud, what is slick,
May quiescence of poetry grant to the age
____A new Beauty Apollo would pick.
We all listen to narratives waxing on ills
____Of a day that is certainly sick.
May the radiant Arts make a dent in the way
____We observe, as in lighting a wick.
From the flame of a candle we light for The Arts,
____Comes a Beauty to readily stick.
Let us hold this in mind, as a guide to the times,
____That we’re free of a fraudulent trick.
If we hold to The Beautiful, Beauty we make
____Of the clock and its prominent tick.
Leave all ugliness, found in a day short of hope,
____Lest the tick of the clock be a prick.

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Amanda Hall is the author of many self-published volumes in poetry, fiction, theatre and scholarship—among them two epic poems, The Gift of Life: An Epic in Verse, and The Laughing Pen: An Epic Satire in Heroic Meter. She has been a critical journalist, in the past, for The New Individualist, tackling issues of aesthetics. She currently resides in Southwest Florida. 
 


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8 Responses

  1. Carole Mertz

    Amanda, in “Appeal to the Muse” I admire your very strong meter. Two lines I especially enjoyed were “An antidote to envy and to rage” and “And iambs play about me like a cage.”

    Reply
  2. Margaret Coats

    “Appeal to the Muse” is a fine Spenserian sonnet. How true that “much of ego spills upon the page” in what we write! And very competent use of anapests in “O Children, Hear.” It seems to me that clarity might be just a little brighter in that second poem if there were no period after “fraudulent trick,” and a semi-colon after “The Beautiful” (lines 12 and 13). As lines 11 and 12 could be a complete sentence in reference to what is above, change is not needed for the grammar, but I suggest that it would clarify the flow of thought.

    Reply
  3. Joseph S. Salemi

    In “O Children, Hear” Ms. Hall is making a direct allusion to one of Shakespeare’s most sexually suggestive lines:

    “The bawdy hand of the dial is now upon the prick of noon…”

    The number-places on clocks in those days were commonly called “pricks” (understood as marks or notations), and sometimes a clock’s “hands” were in fact provided with visible hands and fingers to point out the time. Lines of this erotic nature were the ones that were normally bowdlerized in 19th-century editions of the plays.

    Also, I was delighted (in “Appeal to the Muse”) to see Ms. Hall use the old
    pronomial possessive in line 12:

    A shield to block The Cynical his darts

    That’s truly making use of the Arsenal of Artifice. Great work!

    Reply
  4. David Watt

    Thanks Amanda for these well written pieces. I particularly enjoyed the anapestic “O Children, Hear.” The fast, slick world you describe seems to warrant a rollicking meter.

    Reply

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