Monday, 10 July 2017

Sense Unbound

It’s certainly not hip to call a muse
Just now, but sing I must of how to use
The hours remaining. And I little care,
Given my days are numbered, if I share
In modern modes of verse, in “show not tell”
Etcetera, whose aim is to compel
A fussy virtue’s rule. But poetry’s grand
And stately river flows much broader than
This jetsam – swept away by ancient dance,
The regal prance, cavorting, as girls glance
At leaping boys and drums beat, while pipes skirl
Down history’s highway. Who would not, then, hurl
Themselves in such a brilliant stream and bowl
Along in life’s and verse’s rapids, whole
Immersed in strenuous riot? Studied modes
Deny the irrepressible power – codes
Whose aim’s genteel limit of verse’s beat;
Denial of rhythms that pulse in blood and feet.
(Biology is what we are – our joy
Expressed through skin and sense. Thought must employ
The nose and tongue to truly know and love
Our bodied lovers.) Brooking no rebuff
To urgency of life the heartbeat sweeps
Away all diffidence and poetry keeps
Faith solely in fleshly bounds. Cerebral
Civility and reticence are feeble
Compensations once life’s subtracted from
The holy thud of rhythm. Yet still some
Attempt corralling art from commoners
Behind the shuttered backs of cliques where verse
Is inaccessible ‘modern’ to be
Deciphered by cabals. They do not see
That poetry will well up, refound and tapped
In any human time. A source that’s capped
By jealous guards and arbiters of taste,
Protectors of the cautious mores placed
Between the public and the poet. The ones
Who have not noticed that if anyone’s
Heart is accessed then the wellspring lives
Again. For poetry’s democratic – gives
The lie to those appropriating its
Reward. And blaming exercise of wit’s
Just remit, styling it “de haut en bas
Olympian” and not dissimilar
From talking down to lesser beings is just
To say announcement of noticing must
Not be allowed. Perceiving of delight
Is dumbly there uncommented in the right
And proper circles where articulation
Is deemed a sin - a bad miscalculation.
For mental exposition will, they feel,
Assume unwelcome rights on readers, steal
From them their precious status of ‘respect.’
Few care this disallows the intellect
And intellectual pleasure to regale
The mind; insisting rather on the stale
Exclusion of acuity and the sparkle
Of mental chandeliers; a sad debacle
Which leaves us dull and dimly unamused.
Relationships are feared which make bemused
And threaten our coequal brothers who
Must not be challenged by their feeling too
“Unsafe” from all disturbance of their ways;
A thing not copacetic in our days!
Investment’s made in education here
Which leads the dull to brighter fields, sincere
In its intention to improve their lot.
And yet there’s condescension felt in what
Connection such as this implies – presuming
That teachers “teach” and “tell” - offenses looming
Large; crimes against equality, those which
Can seem elitist in their core, that pitch
Themselves from antique hierarchies of knowledge -
And make it dangerous, now, to go to college.
Though schools go on to all appearances,
Inside they shun the old adherences
To learning models which pretend suggesting
That “learners” learn and spend their time digesting
New things they needed. So the very devil
Is seen in playing fields which are not level
And quaking teachers garner poor renown,
Apologise for school tasks not dumbed down
Enough. Democracy has come so far
That hapless pedagogues, de facto, are
Class enemies if they insist on sense
Or show belief or faith its excellence
Will bear up tottering civilisation:
And thus they qualify for denigration.
A lion may discipline a cub that errs
While humans shrink for fear of hauteur’s slurs.
Thus schools, so poets, will flinch from making sense
And then conveying it. There’s no defense
For rashly thinking sense of interest
And discourse on the truth one of the best
Of entertainments. This, perhaps, as truth
Is seen as mythical, and those uncouth
Who dare believe that it’s not gone extinct.
This age deems it’s outgrown the one distinct
Delight (to set elucidation in
Between apt rhymes), humility to bin
These complex pleasures for the intellectual
Demotic - feels verse-thinking ineffectual
Or, worse, plain arrogance - the worst of vice;
Which means that poets like me are far from nice.
The thrust of wit is felt unfit for our
Offended, cautious age – which limits power
In timid boundaries. And I bite the apple
Of transgression when I attempt to grapple
With setting, in this blackest snake of lines,
A whole live human person who combines
(In peering through them, where he’s just descried -
So pleased I'm not inclined to homicide!)
The soul, the heart, the body, senses five;
Best - an articulating mind alive,
One not excluded for coherent judging
Or honestly refusing to be fudging
What it perceives. For clarity’s rejected,
The very thing defining us suspected;
Preferring, so, to cast off our distinction,
And frenziedly, embrace our mind's extinction;
Our consolation that we haven’t scared
The horses and that orthodoxy’s spared
And left untroubled. So, if shunning reason
Is recommended and considered pleasing,
A prudent strategy that you applaud,
I’d judge this poem’s substance best ignored.

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