Shelley gave us a memorable portrait of 1819 (“An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying King”) and Yeats of 1919 (“We…planned to bring the world under a rule, Who are but weasels fighting in a hole”), and like, 2019 is just around the corner, and yet I don’t think anyone’s stepped up to bat to represent the modern world. So why not me? Am I not a myth-eyed mystic with an overinflated sense of my own swimming abilities? I belong in this club!
Ha ha! Obviously no living poet belongs in a club with Yeats or Shelley, which is part of 2019’s problem when you get right down to it. But that won’t stop me from offering this sonnet:
So: War and rumors (rumors more) of war;
The Widow’s Son no longer on the level;
Pure Reason outed as the Devil’s whore
While Reason’s whore is nonetheless the Devil—
Are graves from which etc. Yet we all
Are graves from which sweet F.A. has arisen
Despite the felix of our annual fall
And angels barring readmits to prison.
The spirit first was buried by the letter;
The letter clambered next into the hearse;
We took as read the clause that we were better
When really all we said was they were worse.
The boot upon a human face forever
Revealed to be our boot; also our face.
And even all our old poetic forms
Have drifted somewhat from their quondam norms.