I Came Upon A Poem


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I came upon a poem recently

Whose title seemed to promise that within

There may be found profundities

New and fresh analogies

Clever phrasing

Melodic words

Imagery to soar

The soul


But as I read

Each labored line

That jerked and stumbled stutter step

A barefoot drunk on cobblestones

With language lurching fitfully

It became a joyless chore

To wrest some meaning

From it all


Polysyllabic pomposity

And terms dredged from antiquity

Sought to lend a scholar's seal

To themes worn bare by poets past


With shallow insights tritely told

Held aloft as revelations

Tortured phrases painfully twisted

Yoda-like were juxtaposed

Sacrificing clarity

Desperate to force a rhyme


An infinite number of monkeys

With an infinite number of typewriters

Would someday reproduce

Shakespeare's masterworks


Perhaps it's true

But should it be

That poem that I struggled through

Must be one of the monkeys'

Earlier works

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Comments 34 comments

Russ Baleson profile image

Russ Baleson 4 years ago from Sandhurst, United Kingdom

I came upon a poem recently and enjoyed it!


moonfroth profile image

moonfroth 4 years ago from Rural BC (Canada) & N of Puerto Vallarta (Mexico)

Often in a bit of humour rests an abiding Truth! It is indeed true that there are no new topics to explore--but we all have our unique eyes, our unique quest for new WAYS of seeing the abiding Truths--and re-sensitizing OUR readers to how all this works in our world. Your poem is an excellent reminder to poets and readers alike of how important that quest really is. Many thanks Chris--well done!


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 4 years ago from Vermont, USA Author

Thanks Russ, glad you did.

Although this was written tongue-in-cheek, you have hit upon what I contend is poetry's primary raison d'etre...to be enjoyed.

CP


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 4 years ago from Vermont, USA Author

Robert-

This piece was nearly titled "Poetic Persiflage".

After suffering a familiar disappointment, I sought to vent just a little...more sarcastic than caustic. At such times, I resist the urge to comment for fear I'd accuse the writer of putting the "Hack" in hackneyed or the "Dog" in doggerel.

For me, poetry is very like the old nursery rhyme:

There was a little girl

Who had a little curl

Right in the middle of her forehead

When she was good

She was very very good

But when she was bad she was horrid.

I suspect the girl fancied herself a poet.

CP


Karre profile image

Karre 4 years ago from Eskridge, Kansas

Great piece!


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 4 years ago from Vermont, USA Author

Thank you Karre for a comment that is as welcome as it is succinct.

Please feel free to browse.

CP


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 4 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

Your super jaundiced view harmonises perfectly with my mood at the moment. Give those monkeys the Nobel Prize.


Darrylmdavis profile image

Darrylmdavis 4 years ago from Brussels, Belgium

Oh, I cannot begin to count the times I've had that impression...nice one!


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 4 years ago from Vermont, USA Author

Christopher-

We all "have our moments", this is the result of one of my many. I am reluctant however, to nominate the monkeys until they come up with something that won't set me off like this.

CP


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 4 years ago from Vermont, USA Author

Thanks Darryl-

I suspect there are many of us who have been taken in by an alluring poetic title only to be let down mere stanzas later.

I'm trying to avoid being jaded, but...

CP


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 4 years ago from South Africa

Hi Christopher, good to read a hub of you again. Poetry has an enormous wide spectrum - about emotions, thoughts, ideas... and so very personal. I blush when I read my poems a week/month after I have published them - but I do know that somewhere on this planet a reader or three will identify with my emotional cramps (poems) and know they are not the only people in the world suffering emotional cramps.

I tend to look behind the words and between the lines and when I think the poet in his capacity as a human being needs my support, I give it to him/her. Poems are often cries for help... coping with intense sorrow. Or maybe they are simply statements.

Good to see you, Christopher :)


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

I love it, Chris. Trite, lacking music and spontaneity are simply unforgivable, even when or if I do 'em - and for someone, probably I do. ;-) It's such a two-way communication, if one gives it up for publication.

I vote this up!


Vincent Moore 4 years ago

I came upon a poem that was skillfully worded, nice to see you back Chris in fighting form, well done. I know I have been republishing some of my earlier works that were deleted or removed when I changed my username, if I am one of those monkey's I offer you my apology if my work has created thoughts of being Hackneyed.

I never expect to be all things to all people with my work, I can be my own worst critic believe me, however I am open to criticism from fellow scribes. Peace and blessings to you my friend.


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 4 years ago from Vermont, USA Author

Ah Martie, you are such a kind and precious person.

I must agree. Plaintive cries for recognition couched in some semblance of poetic verse are worthy of a willing ear, an open mind. Everyone deserves a chance to speak, to be heard and, as you say, our support.

I know as well as anyone the guts, the leap of faith it takes to click that Publish Button. And I abstain from negative comments rather than speak ill of the read. [!] But sometimes a "poem" will just exasperate me so that it becomes the equivalent of fingernails on a chalk board.

My "poem", while serving as a relief valve for my artistic sensibilities, was based in irony...a poem ranting about a poem, art decrying artlessness.

The result above is simply my reaction to severe literary let-down.

I just want to go on record as saying: I don't encourage the tone-deaf to sing.

Peace Martie, you are a dear.

CP


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 4 years ago from Vermont, USA Author

Nellieanna-

For you to even suggest this poem could in any way pertain to you or your poetry... I had to go mix myself a drink!

"Pomposity", "Shallow", "Trite" have never described anything of yours that I have had the pleasure to read, Dear Lady.

My poem was sparked by recurring irritations from various sources, which culminated in one particular piece that just about had 'em all.

You know I like to relieve the tension with humor. What you see is the result.

Peace and hugs.

CP


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

I know, CP. I didn't think it was aimed at my stuff. I doubt those adjectives would fit my stuff and I'm really not defensive about it at all. Maybe my little explanation here will explain why not.

I also cringe & experience great trepidation over some of the junk that passes for poetry too. Your poem pinpoints it exactly & I'm thankful for it.

But, sure, I do examine myself for authenticity and acceptability when I publish here, knowing no one can please everyone. But I know from whence mine came, many way-long years ago when the last thing I was after was trying to 'write poetry', but just to express things I felt or 'saw' as truth, in a sort of codified form to protect them. I didn't expect them to be read by any but very special friends, if any. I hoped they wouldn't be, actually! Many have NEVER been as much as seen by anyone before HP. Even I haven't reviewed all of them since written, but they reappear as I've been transcribing from the handwritten notebooks where I stored them to the computer. Then I sometimes think, "Oh, that's not too bad!" and post it. haha

Some have just been written too, of course. Many this week, other in the last decade or three. But so many go really way back. They don't have to be liked or accepted, actually. I simply became encouraged to share them here for whatever value it might have. I truly was dead-set against doing so when I joined HP! The acceptance encouraged me.

I know this explanation wasn't called for, Chrstopher. I so appreciate your response to my little comment, though. It warmed my heart, in fact. Somehow it seemed to fit in, to share this explanation. Possibly I have done so before in some other context. If so, oops. :-)


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 4 years ago from Vermont, USA Author

Ken-

I've warned you Man, paranoia is the product of too much weed!

We can all look deep inside and determine whether or not we are guilty of poetic pretensions, slaughtered syntax or meter murder...then "go and sin no more".

This poem is not an indictment of any fellow Hubbers. I wrote it as a humorous gentle jab at poetic pitfalls every author must guard against.

If it makes you feel any better, chances are those monkeys will reproduce BOTH our portfolios long before Will's.

Scribe On.

CP


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 4 years ago from Vermont, USA Author

Nellieanna-

Any communication from you is welcome.

I never doubted you would "get it". You were one of the first to comment on some rather risque trucker's song lyrics I published about a year ago. You were bubbly and approving, sharing in the spirit of fun in which it was written.

And I figured you too had had cringe-worthy moments when presented with some of "the junk" that tries to pass as poetry.

Have I told you lately how smitten I am with you?

Thanks for returning for clarification. And thanks for giving me an excuse to mix that drink...as if I need an excuse!

CP


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

Aw-w-w. You're too kind. Yes, I always get a kick out of your work, Chris. Risque is fun. Crude isn't. It's just moi. ;-)

Please tell me about that smitten thing as often as possible! :-) It's enough to make a granny cougar outta me!

I'd share a drink with you, but I'm on a clean teeth binge. I've brushed since the final items of my dinner and no more anything but water till breakfast! :-)


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 4 years ago from United States

Witty, funny and to the point. I especially like the "Yoda-like" imagery. :)


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 4 years ago from Vermont, USA Author

Nellieanna m'dear-

When I spike my morning coffee I shall toast to you.

CP


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 4 years ago from Vermont, USA Author

Tom-

I was hoping you'd like this one.

Please return and browse around, maybe find more to like. I have enjoyed your Hubs, and "appreciate your comments I would"!

Thanks for visiting.

CP


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

Wink! ;-)


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 4 years ago from Vermont, USA Author

Good Mmmmmorning... ;{)


johnwindbell profile image

johnwindbell 4 years ago from - the land of beards and buggies

Had to have Yoda, he's the dude. Great piece of peace. And thanks for enlightening me further with the 'Prime Directive.' Our situation is drastically special however. Wouldn't you say.

John


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 4 years ago from Vermont, USA Author

Hey John-

Yoda could disseminate convoluted words of wisdom and get away with it...poetry not so much.

As far as the "Prime Directive" and our being special, I'm not so sure that we are as "Special" as we'd like to think.

Thanks for visiting.

CP


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 4 years ago

Very Clever Christopher...and look at the Comments it produced...It's so Clever and Witty. Missed your Hubs, so glad you're writing once again!


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 4 years ago from Vermont, USA Author

Hi b.-

Though I have been less active of late on Hubpages than I once was, I do try to read publications by some of my favorite hubbers, and you are one of them.

Curiously, this poem has had over 150 views in the past week but only 14 comments...that's less than 10%. Apparently, "clever and witty" doesn't garner much of a response these days.

C'est la vie. I'm glad you liked it.

CP


Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 4 years ago from San Francisco

interesting "word play" i.e. how drunk can he be if he knows to take his shoes off to improve his footing?


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 4 years ago from Vermont, USA Author

Metaphor Mhatter, metaphor.

Though I don't find it difficult to envision some poor soul's inebriated shoeless walk of shame after tip toeing away from a stranger's rumpled bed, the ensuing erratic awkward rhythm of tender soles upon unforgiving mortar and stone was an analogy for the meterless mess of the poem that serves as the subject of this piece.

And just to be clear, there really were no monkeys.

CP


Danakil profile image

Danakil 4 years ago from Maryport, Cumberland, UK.

As a variation on the 'infinite monkeys', I was once struck by the number of book titles that are quotes from Shakespeare; e.g., 'By the Pricking of my Thumbs' (Agatha Christie), 'Something Wicked This Way Comes' (Ray Bradbury). I hoped, one day, to collect all of these, and arrange them in order, to display his plays in library form. I then realised that, by collecting all the book titles that AREN'T (apparently) Shakespearian 'borrowings', I could reassemble his missing plays! But this is a side issue; your poem deserves to be hung over the desk of every poet, in the way that scholars once kept a skull on their desks as a 'memento mori'.


SilentReed profile image

SilentReed 4 years ago from Philippines

Monkeys have a better understanding of poetry because of their poetic nature. Like a poem they live only for the pleasure of the moment. Observe their rhythm as they swing from tree to tree. Their undulation, a gentle rising and falling pattern. But a subtle change in their environment would cause a dramatic shift in their movement. It swells and builds momentum. Then like a poem's line racing towards it's line break; an abrupt interruption and change in pattern surprises the predator or the poem's reader :)).


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 4 years ago from Vermont, USA Author

Danakil-

I would be honored for this bit of persiflage to be cast is bronze to serve as an author's admonition. The first would be hung above my own desk...Mea Culpa.

Related to your train of thought, if an infinite number of monkeys would someday reproduce Shakespeare's works, what would an infinite number of Shakespeares come up with?

CP


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

Haha! oh this is so true, not your poem of course! lol! I thought it was just me, sitting there staring at a pretentious poem and trying to figure out the darn meaning! phew! glad we got that sorted! mind you saying that, I haven't come across any of those poems on here, we hubbers are just pure geniuses! haha!

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