A Small Poetics

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A poetess, invited to submit

her verse—a friendly offer— answered back:

“Your editorial policies don’t fit

my own advanced ideas; I’d be a hack

 

if I were to contribute. Life is short,

and poems few; I want them to do good,

and advertise my causes.”   That retort

astonished me. So poems, briefly, should

 

be activist endeavors, meant to serve

some special interest? I cannot believe

Erato and Polymnia deserve

demotion thus, or that they can achieve

 

their own fulfillment in a servile role

promoting “progress.” Poetry is art

and not reform; it is the very soul

of life and thought, their lasting counterpart.

 

Envoi

 

Tradition—that’s the unforgiven sin.

Why did I ever think to ask her in?

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