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Nil Carborundum Illegitimi 

On dismal days enswathe yourself in rays,
Then flash your splash of sunrise with panache.
Such zesty citrus, saffron spun displays
Will smash malaise with sassy solar dash—
A glowing grin that lifts your lows sky high…
__Nil carborundum illegitimi.

Brush off the bleak and bask in blasts of bliss—
A sylvan serenade will sweeten sour.
Embrace the avian aria’s aural blitz
Of chirp and cheer—it smooths the grimmest glower.
Those rosy notes will boost your bluest sigh…
__Nil carborundum illegitimi.

Look beyond the bloviating blights
Who badger, bray, and bully till you’re worn,
To floral, choral dawns and firefly nights.
Kick every jibing jackass off your lawn.
Don’t let a cretin make you fret and cry.
__Nil carborundum illegitimi

In other words, no clown should make you frown—
So never let the bastards grind you down.

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Too Far 

a rondeau redoublé  

“No legacy is as rich as honesty.” —William Shakespeare

I fear we’ve gone too far. Is it too late
To set deeds straight and dial the damage back—
To quell this godless spell of hellbent hate
Before our scruples crash and spirits crack?

Why wander down that dusty, bloody track
Where history’s woeful ghosts warn, watch, and wait?
Why bow to baleful beasts with hearts of black?
I fear we’ve gone too far. Is it too late?

Is it too late to block our shocking fate,
To cerebrate and cut the kowtow tack—
To stand up, step up, speak up, animate—
To set deeds straight and dial the damage back?

Deceivers verging on demoniac
Are mapping trips to Hades’ gaping gate.
It’s time to trace the Truth and face the flak—
To quell this godless spell of hellbent hate.

It’s time to ditch the lies and make a date
With words of worth and weight the wicked lack
(Those glorious gifts of grace that resonate)
Before our scruples crash and spirits crack.

To creep and crawl won’t curb a maniac—
A dogmatist who decimates debate—
A freedom-sapping technocrat who’ll hack
Our minds and hearts and souls. Is it too late?
__I fear we’ve gone too far.

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Susan Jarvis Bryant has poetry published on Lighten Up Online, Snakeskin, Light, Sparks of Calliope, and Expansive Poetry Online. She also has poetry published in TRINACRIA, Beth Houston’s Extreme Formal Poems anthology, and in Openings (anthologies of poems by Open University Poets in the UK). Susan is the winner of the 2020 International SCP Poetry Competition, and has been nominated for the 2022 Pushcart Prize.


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25 Responses

  1. Julian D. Woodruff

    Both these and yesterday’s are pure wizardry, Susan. The energy in today’s raises the hope that it’s not too late, that there’s additional energy elsewhere gathering to be released against the “maniacs,” dogmatists” et al.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Julian, I think you may be right. Many are waking up to exactly what’s going on behind the curtain, standing up and pulling it back for the rest of us to see. We cannot continue to brush this pure evil off as care any longer… the tyrants are coming for our children – that’s surely the last straw for all of us. Thank you!

      Reply
  2. jd

    Am awed by your expert poetic prolificacy, Susan. I imagine
    you don’t get much sleep because they can’t just pop
    out without hard work.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      jd, poetry is my passion. I love it so much, I find time to fit it into the busiest of schedules. I’m thrilled you like the results. Thank you very much for your continued encouragement.

      Reply
  3. Dave Etchell

    The line Albert Finney made famous in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning.

    RR — technical mastery — you will be ready for free verse soon –lol

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you for this, Dave. I had no idea… and I’m a huge fan of the late, great Albert Finney. Talking of technical mastery, we need to see some of your beautiful sonnets here at the SCP.

      Reply
  4. Joseph S. Salemi

    Susan, as they say in tennis, with these two pieces you are at the absolute top of your game.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Joseph, what finer praise could one who does her best ask for. Thank you very much. I’m smiling.

      Reply
  5. Paul Freeman

    I particularly enjoyed ‘Nil Carborundum Illegitimi’ – it resonated.

    I did find the alliteration occasionally a bit overwhelming, but that’s probably me.

    ‘sylvan serenade’, ‘floral, choral dawns’ and ‘jibing jackass’ are genius and signature Susan (see, I can alliterate, too), but ‘Brush off the bleak and bask in blasts of bliss’ was a little too tongue-twistery for me.

    Hope I haven’t offended.

    As always, thanks for the entertaining reads.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you, Paul. I’m never offended by thoughts on my technique – they’re often helpful. ‘Nil Carborundum Illegitimi’ is a humorous piece that draws upon overblown language to heighten the message… the message is in-your-face glee for all those joy suckers out there. There’s nothing those who want to ruin everybody else’s fun hate more than knowing they are the source of euphoria – the more alliterative mega-merriment I can muster when dealing with misery-making, moaning bastards the better.

      Reply
      • Mike Bryant

        I thought that tongue twisters were scientifically proven to cause ultra-magna-mega-merriment along with consternation among the more lingually languid. I’ll find the link to that study and post it… however I believe the science is settled on that one just like it is on everything else!

  6. Jeff Eardley

    Susan, I thought the monkey pox poem was a work of genius, and then you hit us with “Nils Carborundem,” and then I read “Too Far” just as the sad events in Uvalde popped onto our news. My brain is spinning with your astounding wordplay in all three.
    My favourite line is, “To cerebrate and cut the kowtow tack.” Could apply to Boris tonight.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Jeff, I’m thrilled my poems have connected with you. Your favorite line is one of mine too. It seems governments globally are no longer governments “of the people, by the people, for the people”. They have their own agenda which we need to call out before we all go under. I hope Boris and Biden can feel the vibes from my latest poetry attack their consciences (if they haven’t disappeared along with our dwindling freedoms). Thank you very much, Jeff.

      Reply
      • Paul Freeman

        From the photos, I don’t think Boris is too perturbed…

        Though Boris stood toasting his peers
        with vino and all types of beers,
        the Old Bill opined
        he needn’t be fined,
        to which Boris gladly yelled: “Cheers!”

      • Mike Bryant

        As Boris was knocking the Bock down,
        His government dealt out a knockdown.
        He knows that the people
        Are mostly just “sheeple”
        Some still celebrate the fake Lockdown.

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        I love a good limerick… thank you, Mike and Paul!

  7. Brian Yapko

    Susan, poet extraordinaire, you are definitely on a roll (and for someone of your superlative skill that’s really saying something!) Both of these are marvelous. Nil Carborundum Illegitimi has just the right blend of serious advice and cheek. I can understand why Paul thought your use of poetic devices might be excessive, but I would submit that you have actually weaponized alliteration – you use it the way others might shout or underline or put everything into bold lettering. You often use it either for sincere emphasis of a point or to demonstrate sincere and superb disdain. Whatever and however you do it, it works.

    As for your rondeau redouble, how splendid it is in form and language and how frightening in subject matter. Obviously you wouldn’t bother writing it if you sincerely thought it was “too late” for us to do anything about the imminent collapse of our world due to the pervasively mundane evil that is all about us. But we’re certainly getting to that point of no return and you take a lot on to issue this much-needed warning. “It’s long past time “to ditch the lies.” We need this. We need more of this. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Brian, thank you very much for your continued support and generous, entertaining, and thought-provoking comments. I’m over the moon with your “weaponized alliteration” observation. That’s exactly what I was doing in ‘Nil Carborundum Illegitimi’ – I stand for everything the dictatorial ‘experts’ don’t… and I’m beginning to enjoy myself… on the poetry front, that is.

      I particularly appreciate you casting your fine eye over ‘Too Far’. You know just how tricky it is to compose a rondeau redoublé, and this is an instant favorite of mine. I wanted subtle repetition for a heartfelt message… and, you’re right – I don’t think it’s too late. I wanted to get a serious message across in the hope that we can hold on to our freedoms and leave the future generations all the wonders of freedom we’ve experienced. I don’t want our forefathers to have died in vain, and I think we’re reaching a point when we need to stand together instead of allowing tyrants to pit us against each other. The only enemy we have right now is the one with the boot on our face… hopefully not for much longer.

      Reply
  8. C.B. Anderson

    Only you, Susan, can gild the lily and make it seem like an heirloom passed down from one family member to another for generations. Not only are you authentic, but you are also genuine.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      C.B., this is a beautiful comment. You’ve lightened my heart after a difficult day, and I thank you. You are a fine poet, a poet I thoroughly enjoy reading and often learn from… a fact that makes your words all the sweeter.

      Reply
  9. Gary

    Susan, your fine poetry technique, your flow and your way with words is inspiring. Well done!

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Gary, I thoroughly appreciate your encouraging feedback. Thank you, Sir!

      Reply
  10. Norma Pain

    “Those misery-making, moaning bastards”, should be cringing behind their lies. I just love it! You must constantly have paper-in-pocket and pencil-behind-ear, to be as prolific as you are. Thank you for all of this wonderful stuff.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Norma, I’m glad you’re with me on the moaning bastard front. Your poetry does much to stave off misery, and I think that’s the direction we should head in. Let’s leave all the whiners handwringing in woe at their pity party while we have a poetic party… all nose pickers are welcome as long as they’re smiling. 🙂 Thank you very much for making me smile!

      Reply
  11. Jack Dashiell

    I like the energy in these two poems, as if you’re about to burst, but keeping the logic and needs of following the shape of these stanzas, it also needs concentration of words and rhymes, you succeed in this as well. I wish these poetry and literary magazines would accept poems like these. I’m still submitting to them hoping for a break, not happening yet.

    Reply

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