The Panther

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From so much eyeing of these bars
The panther’s gone cage-blind
So that it sees a thousand bars,
And not the world behind.

Lithely padding, circling
In movement without cease
It coils its body like a spring
That cannot find release.

And sometimes on its eye within,
The silent pictures start–
That rush through sinew, nerve and skin,
But vanish at the heart.

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Rilke drew me in again; I’m not quite sure why. His lyricism? His romanticism? This particular poem’s fusion of imagism and philosophizing that, though it stops well short of banality, is certainly situated somewhere along the obviousness spectrum? Likely enough it was over-exposure to the slavish word-bound accuracy of over-respectful translators who run roughshod over sense and sensibility to turn–for example–this:

Sein Blick ist von Vorübergehen der Stäbe
so müd geworden, daß er nichts mehr hält. (Ranier Maria Rilke)

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Against Alphabet Picture Books, the Gods Themselves Contend in Vain

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Alphabet books – cease doing!
Everybody’s fails, goes headlong into
jangling, klanging lines.
Meaning no offense, please quit.
Readers’ll say thanks, ultimately.

Very warmly,

XXX,

Yours —

Zeus

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The Prince Who Succeeded in Slaying the Giant (A Cautionary Tale)

Danger - Falling Giants
The Prince was bold, the Prince was brave,
The Prince was young and strong,
All of these things he was, and yet
He did not live so long.

The Prince sought the Princess’s hand;
The King, to try his skill,
Commanded, “Slay the giant!”
And the Prince, he said, “I will!”

The giant’s name was Fumblegrunt
The largest of that race –
Full thirty yards he measured,
From his feet up to his face!

All night they fought, and then all day;
All afternoon as well;
Until at last the brute was slain
– And then, of course, he fell.

For Fumblegrunt was huge and strong,
And ugly and appalling;
And heavy, too, as the Prince found, who
Reckoned without his falling.

So once you’ve slain the giant –
Though your heart be filled with pride –
O once you’ve slain the giant,
Don’t forget to step aside.

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On Writing Well

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Improve your Writing? Nothing to it!
Find an Adverb and eschew it!
And Adjectival abolition
Aids most any Composition!

Widely concurs the Writing Tribe:
It’s better far not to describe;
And rare’s the Pundit who disputes
That Things should not have Attributes.

 

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