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Lion & Honeycomb Analysis

Author: poem of Howard Nemerov Type: poem Views: 14

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He didn't want to do it with skill,

He'd had enough of skill. If he never saw

Another villanelle, it would be too soon;

And the same went for sonnets. If it had been

Hard work learning to rime, it would be much

Harder learning not to. The time came

He had to ask himself,  what did he want?

What did he want when he began

That idiot fiddling with the sounds of things.

He asked himself, poor moron, because he had

Nobody else to ask. The others went right on

Talking about form, talking about myth

And the (so help us) need for a modern idiom;

The verseballs among them kept counting syllables.

So there he was, this forty-year-old teen-ager

Dreaming preposterous mergers and divisions

Of vowels like water, consonants like rock

(While everybody kept discussing values

And the need for values), for words that would

Enter the silence and be there as a light.

So much coffee and so many cigarettes

Gone down the drain, gone up in smoke,

Just for the sake of getting something right

Once in a while, something that could stand

On its own flat feet to keep out windy time

And the worm, something that might simply be,

Not as the monument in the smoky rain

Grimly endures, but that would be

Only a moment's inviolable presence,

The moment before disaster, before the storm,

In its peculiar silence, an integer

Fixed in the middle of the fall of things,

Perfected and casual as to a child's eye

Soap bubbles are, and skipping stones.

Submitted by Emily


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