Blake-ish Poems

(original artwork by yours truly)
Instructional Poems for Young and Old 
(with a Practical Moral to Close Each Piece) 

Little Mouse so proudly sat

on kitchen table, plump and fat.
Mrs. Mouse, as mothers do,
said, “I should be so very blue
if Mr. Cat should find you there
and eat you, bone, skin, and hair.”
Little Mouse, against her fears
let her words go out his ears.
A pounce. A crunch. And then a fart:
Sometimes staying ain’t so smart.
Mr. Cat asked, “Mrs. Mouse,
would you come into my house?”
Mrs. Mouse said, “Mr. Cat,
I am fine just where I’m at.”
“But look and see—it is quite nice.
A perfect place to raise some mice.
It’s warm and dry; you’ll live in style,
not like in your old woodpile.”
“All the same, I think I’ll pass”:
Sometimes staying saves your ass.


A word about this set of poems. I actually wrote and posted them a few months ago, but since they were not linked to any online poetry groups they had maybe a dozen readers. So while they are not spankin’ brand new, they are gently used and I feel justified in reposting. I think they fit what Victoria Slotto, host of tonight’s Meeting At the Bar over at dVerse, is looking for. Or one can sincerely hope so.

Now, as for the literary influence, I definitely had William Blake in mind when I wrote them, specifically Blake’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience. I’ve spent a lot of time with Blake, and he has undoubtedly worked an influence on my own stuff. There are superficial similarities between these poems and Blake’s, such as the title. And the original artwork. (For those not familiar, Blake is as well-known for his striking “illuminations” as he is for his poems. I have my doubts whether my drawing will enjoy the same appeal.) Couched within the sometimes (seemingly) simplistic poems contained in Songs, especially those in the Innocence section, Blake deals with some deeper issues of human existence. I like the way he views things from more than one perspective, and it is this aspect of Blake I was most trying to mimic. I also admit to poking fun at the moralistic poems geared toward children that were popular at the time.

All that aside, I’ve written what my oldest daughter calls “sad” poems the last few weeks, so it was time for some fun. But look closely–there may be a deeper message somewhere in there after all!

The Mystic

For Three Word Wednesday, prompt words absolute, fall, nestle. Wanted to rhyme this week. The quote is from Wordsworth’s poem Nutting.

The Mystic
. . . there is a spirit in the woods.
            –William Wordsworth
Long before daybreak in
The shadow of the wood’s edge,
I stand apart from pledge,
Creed, or demands of men
To drink deeply from the
Absolute. Glassy beads unbidden
Fall soundless, a blessing in
Teardrop form. The sweetgum tree,
Holding growth silent over
Centuries, reaches the sky
Without seeming to try,
An elevated enclosure                                           
Where sleepy squirrels nestle close.
There are lessons to learn from
The Spirit-filled woods: I become
A mystic by going slow.

The Worsening

For Three Word Wednesday, prompt words persuasive, loud, riches. Felt like rhyming this week.

The Worsening

Black shapes against the sky
Hover, descend.
They do not make a cry
But with the blackness blend
And raise a solid wall
That will not shake or fall.

In circular silence
I try to find a door
That isn’t there. Bent
Numb fingers explore
Until persuasive despair
Calmly buzzes in my ear.

Will these dead bones live?
To sing again? I recall
Some melody through the sieve
Of my memory, small
Spent riches of sound
A dirge for the burial ground.

Yet I am not alone—
Child-like belief makes
A chink in the dark stone.
The loud creak of hell’s gates,
Startling as I spring
Free of the worsening.