Still of Bear Grylls about to eat a large beetle larva.‘The Drive to Reconcile’ and Other Poetry by C.B. Anderson The Society July 9, 2022 Beauty, Humor, Poetry 15 Comments . The Drive to Reconcile __We never wish to eat a bug __Or force an unexpected hug, But intimacy doesn’t come without A cost, and those who disagree, no doubt, Are lost. But nonetheless we cannot see Why we can’t love the ones who disagree __With everything that we believe, __Without which we must take our leave. __We’ll eat whatever dares approach— __A fly, a beetle, or a roach— And thank the sovereign powers up above For letting us express our deepest love: To watch, to eat, or otherwise engage. Presumably we’ve finally come of age, __So why do we remain afraid __Of lessons learned in second grade? . . When Words Fail Always the cunning linguist, straightaway He tried to win her with a florid spate Of words devised to pluck the strings that pulled Her heart. It might have worked, but who can say? By some misfortune, he was much too late And couldn’t close the deal. Nobody’s fooled All day, and if, perchance, the end he craved Had come to pass, it wouldn’t’ve been for long, For everything that’s built on sand must fail. By no mere sleight of hand can pride be saved When every game-plan has been proven wrong— Some time ago that ship he’d sought set sail. Then, meeting someone clearly on the young side, He asked if she would like to take a drive To where a glade abuts a burbling creek. Once there, he found himself completely tongue-tied But knew that precious hope was still alive: She wasn’t there to listen to him speak. . . When We Are Gathered to Our Fathers Words are men’s daughters, but God’s sons are things. —Samuel Madden, Boulter’s Monument (1745) What will we be to them, those rested souls That wrought a lineage through ages past, When we ourselves debark upon the shoals Of Avalon? Will they regard the last Ashore as something less than what it was Each one of them envisioned in the course Of forging worthy legacies? It does Not matter that they are the very source Of us, as we shall be to those we greet In ages yet to come, for every life Engenders others, often incomplete And mostly unremarked. The world is rife With possibilities and grand events That never happen: Risks seem far too great, Potential disappointments loom immense, And there is seldom cause to celebrate. So let us be as fathers to the sons We’ll never have, and let our daughters be The reconciliation, chosen ones That ease our passage through eternity. First published in Poetry Salzburg Review (2016) . . C.B. Anderson was the longtime gardener for the PBS television series, The Victory Garden. Hundreds of his poems have appeared in scores of print and electronic journals out of North America, Great Britain, Ireland, Austria, Australia and India. His collection, Mortal Soup and the Blue Yonder was published in 2013 by White Violet Press. NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets. NOTE TO POETS: 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 email@example.com. 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. 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) 15 Responses Margaret Coats July 9, 2022 Not having learned to eat bugs in second grade, I appreciate the crafty illogic of “The Drive to Reconcile.” And I see with amusement that it’s impossible to conclude “When Words Fail” with words. But if daughter-words can be reconciliation to ease our passage through eternity, that hints at some perceived difficulties in the eternal passage. All very thoughtful on the topic of our cherished words! Thanks. Reply C.B. Anderson July 10, 2022 Well, Margaret, what one learns in second grade depends on the teacher one happens to have drawn. You have made connections between these poems of which the author was unaware when they were submitted together. I argue, or suggest, that one’s daughters (one’s words, which we choose) may help reconcile the soul with the world at hand and with the world to come. Isn’t this one of the reasons that persons like us write poetry in the first place? Reply Brian Yapko July 10, 2022 I enjoyed each of these quite a bit, C.B., although I must confess that the insect-noshing imagery of The Drive to Reconcile helped me stay on my diet this morning. But the metaphor works! I found When Words Fail to be very entertaining — especially that cheeky last line but also the sad and wise “everything that’s built on sand must fail.” When We Are Gathered to Our Fathers is by far my favorite of the three. The considerable depth of thought in this poem is not only thought-provoking but deeply moving. The sons we’ll never have… the daughter as the reconciliation… You see, I have never had children so that final quatrain strikes me particularly hard while at the same lifting me up. I think you’ve articulated why writing matters to me so much as I get older. The influence I’ve had on other people’s lives (for better or worse) and the words I write are my only legacy and poetry helps me reconcile myself to that fact. You’ve given me much to ponder. Thank you, C.B. Truly. Reply C.B. Anderson July 10, 2022 Glad you enjoyed them, Brian, and glad to help with the diet. That “cheeky” last line is about as far as I would care to on this site. Another wonderful thing about poetry is that things don’t always need to be spelled out. Yes, I put a lot of thought into the third one; I’m glad that some of it comes through. Sons (things) & daughters (words) are good because they make one look at the world in a different way. In a very literal sense, if you keep on writing formal verse, then it’s only a matter of time before you meet a pleasant metrophiliac (much younger than you are, of course) who is willing to give you both. So far, they haven’t found a way to tax the act of pondering, so keep at it. Reply Joseph S. Salemi July 11, 2022 Kip, your cheeky last line reminded me of an old bit of doggerel from the schoolyard. As you say, in poetry you don’t have to spell things out: Jack and Jill Went up the hill, Each with a buck and a quarter. Jill came down with two-fifty — They didn’t go up for water. C.B. Anderson July 12, 2022 Indeed, Joseph, someone should compile as much of of this schoolyard doggerel as possible. I hadn’t heard yours, and I might have a couple that you don’t know about. It could be a best-seller! Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant July 11, 2022 C.B., I particularly like the inspirational form and use of internal rhyme in the first stanza of ‘The Drive to Reconcile’… I also like: ‘We’ll eat whatever dares approach— __A fly, a beetle, or a roach’ but cannot get past Bear Grylls’ witchety bug… they ooze a cheese like goo when you bite into them… Yuck!! Would I be able to eat one of those in the name of love? I hope I never have to find out. ‘When Words Fail’ is highly amusing and has an opening line I wouldn’t recommend reading after a tipple… I’m laughing at the thought. Thank you for these admirably crafted, wonderful poems. Reply C.B. Anderson July 12, 2022 You gotta problem wi’ cheese, Susan? What these aborigines eat should be tried with a good barbecue sauce and cooked on a charcoal grill, Texas style. But you are exactly right: Superior elocution is always in high demand. Reply Evan Mantyk July 11, 2022 Kip, I love the eating a bug metaphor. It captures so well the experience of a difficult reconciliation. I hope the perhaps shocking image I selected for this metaphor hasn’t made it too difficult for some people to enjoy your splendid poetry. Evan Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant July 11, 2022 Evan and C.B., I’m sorry – I was being a tad cheeky. While the bug makes me shudder, it really doesn’t spoil the effect of C.B.’s fine words. Reply C.B. Anderson July 12, 2022 All’s well that ends well. Reply Shaun C. Duncan July 12, 2022 These are perfect examples of what I love about your poetry, C.B: the combination of wit and wisdom, plain-speaking and poetic skill. Bravo. Reply C.B Anderson July 13, 2022 Ich kann nicht anders. Reply Julian D. Woodruff July 13, 2022 C.B., I too love the end of “Words.” It reminds me a bit of the verse for “Show me,” in My Fair Lady: “Words, words, I’m so sick of words …” I’m wondering: in “Drive,” did you intend the pairs of 4-foot lines sandwiching 4 5-foot lines as a sign of what we might want to reconcile? (BTW, the cost / lost interior rhyme in that one strikes me as very well placed). Reply C.B Anderson July 13, 2022 In “Drives …,” Julian, I never entertained any such intention. The cost/lost rhyme is what you might call an around-the-corner rhyme, and if I could have done without it I would gladly have done so. Reply 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. Δ This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.