To a Modern Poet
With shards of words as dissonant as truck
Gears grinding, you assert you cannot live
Without Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, Bach,
And other courtly music. Yet you give
The bird to courtly verse. When you see rhymes
And meters, you’re affronted by the thought
Of this assault on modern art and times.
Sonatas you esteem, but sonnets not.
So why should avant-garde posterity
Reward your cursed contrariness of rage?
To cure your foolish inconsistency,
We must replace your music with John Cage,
Carl Ruggles, Milton Babbitt, and George Crumb.
May you absorb their clinkers till you’re numb.
—Miles David Moore
this poem previously appeared in a recent issue of Light
Poetry and Music
He hoists ungrateful bricks up decorative ladders
too dainty for the weight.
Over millennia, his fathers and mothers
molded bricks into arabesques,
Grecian statues, free-form improvisations.
He knows the rules, those tacky globs
of mortar, but the secret of melting bricks
is something no one can teach or learn.
He looks at his hands. He looks at the bricks.
Dull red, unpliable, they look
defiantly like what they mean.
She tries to dam the stream using only her hands.
Over millennia, her fathers and mothers
solidified water between their fingers,
built palaces, cathedrals, pyramids.
Their secret can’t be taught or learned.
Their rules are crows on telephone wires,
scattering at their own discord.
She could wait for winter, but ice
is slippery, dissolving at first sun.
She looks at her hands. She looks at the water
bathing her hands, the stream-bed pebbles
in dull mosaic, the cloisonned fish
eluding her grasp. The ceaseless
water-sound and crows’ caws mingle,
They toil side by side,
too busy to notice each other
till he drops a brick in the stream.
She looks up. He looks down.
His eyes trace arabesques.
Her eyes build cathedrals.
The brick bends. The water stops.
From somewhere, a faint sound mimics birdsong.
—Miles David Moore
"Poetry and Music" is in the current issue of the online magazine Innisfree