As described in yesterday's post, Two Mistakes is an epic narrative poem, an update of Shakespeare's A Comedy of Errors. It is metered, traditional verse, intended as the equivalent of a musical, albeit, without music. It won second place in the Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Competition.
Here is the press release.
Here is the poem.
I wrote a prologue/apologia for this piece which I did not include as part of the finished work. In submitting metered verse, I have received rejection notices suggesting I should forgo rhyming. The editors state it is juvenile and have specifically recommended that I write non-rhyming verse, chiding me as though my choice were accidental or else that I could do nothing but rhyme.
So I wrote this prologue/apologia as an introduction. It has a different and less stringent rhyme structure while maintaining the same anapestic rhythm with four feet. It was intended to declare my intent for this work: "This Error of Comedies, freshened, domestic, / Is a poem for the age of the musical stage."
I dropped this. Never explain or apologize.
Prologue and Apologia
With their most sacred sneers all the cravenly brave
Seek to plunder the poet in corpus and name.
His bones have been tumbled so often you'd think
That by now they'd invest in a crank for his grave.
But a rose is a rose and a spade is a spade,
The first graces a tomb while the other exhumes.
Like a grave-robbing thief, I pass time with the ghouls.
I have learned all their rules, I know how this game's played.
So I spirit his carcass and spirit to Hades
With a psychopomp's purpose, or else merely pompous.
The bard disembodied, by God, is more bawdy.
He arrives at Elysium mashing the ladies,
Then, encountering Falstaff, they flag down a whore.
I snatch up his bones: dented anvil and humerus.
He abandoned a parchment, its stories displayed
In arrays of tattoos on the skin he once wore.
I start rolling his bones under threat of the snake eyes
Peeking out from their lair, a dark hole in the earth.
Raising toasts with a cider from Eden's lost garden,
I stare down the serpent with pinched half-awake eyes.
This Error of Comedies, freshened, domestic,
Is a poem for the age of the musical stage.
It keeps beat with four feet much like Rogers-Astaire -
If not as majestic, at least anapestic.
Mea culpa et culpa et maxima -gulp-
Must be something I et to inspire such regret.
With a fire in my belly and pasty eye jelly
I am powdering bones as I consecrate pulp.