The Concept "Sacred Muse": An American Sonnet to a Friend Desiring My Response, with a Tuesday Writers Workshop
Tuesday Writers Workshop in Verse, August 30, 2011
How is Honest Written Correspondence Possible
Today without Unwanted Personal Consquences?
My wife will often teach our Sunday morning class
while I am busy somewhere else.
As soon as we have time to talk again,
she tells me at great length what happened in the class
and at our class's dinner afterward.
One Sunday recently she said a long-term member of our class,
a single woman who retired from teaching early, mentioned she
could not find anyone to write her back a meaningful reply.
Fay told her I was always writing looking for response, which caused
the woman to agree to write some letters back and forth with me.
My first impression was to write a clever little poem just
to warn her of the dangers (like, be careful what you wish for!), but
I put that one aside as helping neither her nor me.
After a while, however, I saw opportunity
to comment on a key component of a serious issue,
the larger need to have responsible yet mutually
responsive written conversation with a minimum of stress.
The ancients knew of silent Muses who inspired
their artists from afar, but silence seems too tired
in modern times, particularly in America,
where no one is content to have a silent Muse,
and no one is prepared to play the classic Muse's role
of silent inspiration energizing from afar.
America means everyone has something they must say,
but saying it to silent, unresponsive types grows difficult
and wearisome at best. We want and need to hear
intelligent response to what we say and do
beyond the quick "Hello," and "See you later, dear!"
But progress in responsive honest writing suffers from
the fearful hidden dangers of emotional distress
that should get more careful attention than they have so far.
I think the concept of two Sacred Muses interacting with
each other's art might lead to more productive mutual results.
These thoughts resulted in my writing fourteen six-foot lines
(though later the concluding two required an extra foot)
but with a simpler scheme of rhyme than sonnets of the past,
a tentative example of what recently I called
the new American sonnet. It still needs further work,
indeed most poems do, but this is where it stands right now.
I hope you like it and you will give me, and you,
the benefit of your reaction and response.
The Concept "Sacred Muse"
An American Sonnet to a Friend
Desiring My Response
Today I heard your message that you often write
to friends who never write you back, and that's not right,
so you would like to write to me because you think I might
respond to you. But you should know before, with prudent fright,
you must be ready first to fall feet-first in love's starlight,
revealing fancied feelings formerly kept far from sight.
Responsive honest writing is, indeed, a noble quest,
but it can lead to foreign fruit not easy to digest
unless both writers let the dictionary's help suggest
the useful concept "Sacred Muse" might work out best
to put your fears of giving up too much of you to rest,
so you can each inspire the other as a Muse impressed.
Few people understand the work that "Sacred Muse" implies,
but those who do, into the stratosphere of art, may rise.
First written August 29, 2011
Revised April 2012 and slightly again August 5, 2013
Copyright (c) the Max Havlick School, Villa Park, IL 60181-1938, all rights reserved.
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