"The Bard" by John Martin‘Bywords’ and Other Poetry by Mike Bryant The Society November 7, 2021 Beauty, Culture, Poetry 24 Comments . Bywords Language rang and wedged within our mind. Centuries of words were drawn like swords. A surfeit, rhymes, soliloquies entwined, As singers fingered perfectly rung chords. Linguals clang, the cymbals of the tongue. Vowels, our open mouths fling ahs with ease. Sibilance sees esses struck and sung. Tones lift and fall to bring out melodies. When words cannot be saved, we wave goodbye. They leave us poorer, each a telling dart. Will language languish? Will we let it die? Wishes won’t save symbols of our heart. Fight destruction or our voice falls short; Our speech and freedom are on life support. . . Trivialities A drip in the ocean, A star in the sky, A fly in the lotion, The truth in a lie… Dust and water, Earth and light, Son or daughter, Weakness, might… Love and laughter, Day and night, Ever after, Blindness, sight… First or last And all that’s coming, All that’s past, And all hearts drumming… You and me are We together. On this star, We fear the nether. Yes, the curtain Surely closes. Life’s uncertain… Ashes… roses… . . Mike Bryant is a poet and retired plumber living on the Gulf Coast of Texas. NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets. The Society of Classical Poets does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments. CODEC News: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) 24 Responses Joe Tessitore November 7, 2021 Two excellent poems, but I’m into little, and “Trivialities” is the biggest little poem I’ve ever read. Bravo, Mike. Reply Mike Bryant November 7, 2021 Thanks, Joe. Reply Jeff Eardley November 7, 2021 Mike, in “Bywords” I love, “ When words cannot be saved, we wave goodbye,” The loss of eloquence these days is so depressing. Your poem should be on the lips of every English teacher as a reminder of what we have lost. “Trivialities” is a little gem with a reminder that “Ashes” and “Roses” is either the way we will all end up, or a great name for a rock band. Great stuff and most enjoyable. Reply Mike Bryant November 7, 2021 Jeff… you are the expert on bands… thank you. Reply Cheryl Corey November 7, 2021 Both excellent. I love “Trivialities”, with the final imagery – the closing curtain, ashes and roses. Reply Mike Bryant November 7, 2021 Thanks, Cheryl. Reply Brian Yapko November 7, 2021 Mike, thank you for both of these intriguing and entertaining poems. Bywords is a delightful celebration of sound with a interesting preponderance of “L” and “S” sounds (languishing language, sibilant esses) which – by design? Coincidence? – ultimately come together in the phrase “life support.” Will language languish? Not with poems like this! As for “Trivialities” – I love the ironic title. Your list of opposites and apposites is both fine and wise. There’s some sleight of hand going on here because you invoke a number of cliched pairings and then you yoke together some unexpected ones (The truth in a lie, all hearts drumming.) What I really like best is the line “we fear the nether” which carries a lot of weight for what seems like a throw-away line. And the last line – “ashes… roses…” is a gut-punch of unspoken associations. These are both quite wonderful. Reply Mike Bryant November 7, 2021 Thanks, Brian. Reply Joseph S. Salemi November 7, 2021 I read “Bywords” as a lament for the steady disappearance, even in upper-level discourse, of many words (and definitional and grammatical distinctions) that were once common knowledge among the educated. Few people can distinguish between who and whom, or that and which, or “number” and “amount,” or even the proper spelling of woman and women. Bryant connects this, in his final couplet, with the very palpable loss of freedom of speech and thought in modern society Reply Mike Bryant November 9, 2021 We are certainly seeing a degradation of grammar in many publications. Every word we lose takes an idea with it. Thanks. Reply Peter Hartley November 8, 2021 Mike. Bywords, headed by my favourite painting in the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle, U.K. is full of memorable lines, visual and verbal puns, gentle tongue-twisters, words/swords, and “fling ahs with ease,” clever little homonyms, Good sight rhymes. Neatly done, with a snappy last line. Reply Mike Bryant November 9, 2021 But, no matter what, I’ll never be able to match Susan’s pyrotechnics. Thanks, Peter. Reply Sally Cook November 8, 2021 Mike – Excellent ! Give me a multi-syllabic word and let me run free! Reply Mike Bryant November 9, 2021 Thank you, Sally. Reply C.B. Anderson November 8, 2021 There is nothing trivial about “Trivialities”. And it was very nicely done, too. It was pithy and authentic, but also expansive and possibly life-changing. Poems like “Bywords” make me wish I had majored in linguistics. You have done many a cool thing here I don’t have the technical expertise to describe. In the end (the final couplet), you leave me wondering whether you are trending toward the political dimension or the literary dimension, though it’s not obvious that the two dimensions are disconnected. Reply Joseph S. Salemi November 8, 2021 Think of what the two writers George Orwell and Ezra Pound (from widely separate parts of the political spectrum) said: the corruption of language is always followed by the corruption of good government. Reply Mike Bryant November 9, 2021 Thanks, C.B. Reply Yael November 8, 2021 Very nice poems Mike, as usual. Trivialities is by far my favorite though. I love the terseness which gives way to highly evocative mental pictures. It reminds me of Pink Floyd’s Us And Them so much that I can hear the music in my mind while I read your poem. It’s delightful; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LezoMi3yftM Reply Mike Bryant November 9, 2021 Thank you, Yael. Reply Paul Freeman November 9, 2021 It’s sad indeed the way the English language is being jargonised and dumbed down into textspeak. Thanks for the thought-provoking read, Brian Reply C.B. Anderson November 9, 2021 There are a lot of things to be sad about, Paul. Reply Paul Freeman November 9, 2021 Whoops! Of course, I meant ‘Mike’. It was late at night. Reply Mike Bryant November 10, 2021 No prob… thanks. David Watt November 10, 2021 Both poems are excellent Mike. I particularly like the dimeter “Trivialities” thoughtful look at life and our humble place in this world. Reply Leave a Reply to Joseph S. Salemi 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. Δ This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.