By What Write

It’s an unnatural act
A deed quite untoward
Denying life, the prime fact,
And the business of living
To pummel a keyboard
And pretend one is giving

As though one’s best thoughts,

Than mere words far more nimble,
Could ever be caught
Or fill more than a thimble

As though it would matter,
Granting wisdom unequaled,
As though hordes would flock
To the art or its sequel.

Juvenal wrote

Out of frustration
So he claimed
After must gestation

Of frustration ingrained
Not only did he dote
On obsequious scriveners
And writers pretentious
But also on livers
Of modes ill-portentous.

Such savage indignation
Fires determination
Of many an ink-stained wrist-cramped wretch

But that life leaves so pained
Satiric inclination
Suggests one should stretch
For more joyous inspiration.

Others, like Orwell,
So he claimed
Wrote from a sense of injustice ingrained
As a desperate warning
Of dark future gathering

As a basic defense
From obsequious blathering

But as Orwell admitted

We toil and perspire
Above all for adulation
Imagined, desired

Though the chronicling fool
Inflamed his just ire
Yet idolatry, exaltation
Adds the most fuel
To the passionate fire

Of artistic creation

Orwell wrote
With certain conviction

That no person sane
Would withstand the affliction

Of digging a moat,
Round a keep thick with pane
The muse thus to deliver,
From life’s noisy friction
That gurgling river

An island internal
Isolation eternal
Sacrifices infernal
While behavior external
Conscientious, fraternal
And suitably diurnal
Mask doings in the keep
The nocturnal kept deep

As for imagined rewards
In the eye of the mind, Ego’s prism
Whence the self always shined:
In the moat float the boards
Of ghost ships adored, anointed with chrism

The Muse pays in kind

No wonder
That Greek
Lost his sight
So pale, so bleak
Is the light
In the keep
It’s only right
That tears rise
From disordered eyes
For just such can weep
Over such a blunder

Something not human
The daimon, the muse
Hands us the knife

To cut loose the earth
Its full pleasure refuse

A phantom our wife

We project onto numen
The cause of our strife

While declaiming to those
Our reflection illumined
Who, much amused,
In fret or repose,
Already live life.

© 2006, Doug Tarnopol


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