Wednesday, May 27, 2009

for alfred lord tennyson

for alfred tennyson

lord tennyson, yr kingly poesy
fell on my ears like cloven tongues of flame
& woke a modest gift of prophesy
that my thick tongue might speak the secret name
of that which dwells so darkly deep within
or sing the vatic verses that arise
from my true serpent soul. u made begin
the resonance that opened wide my eyes
& shook me from my nascent poet’s sleep;
u set me free to exercise & train
poetic foot & lazy rhyme; to keep
a sacred charge to be a foil & bane
to custom; even prophesy & grow
my verse to lay my feeble critics low.

© Joseph McNair; 2009

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