Tuesday, February 07, 2012
Birthday card for Mr. Dickens--
In celebration of Charles Dickens and his 200th birthday--and I am very thankful that he was born, and have been so since I was very quite young--here's a poem. As he is rather intangible these days, at least to my earthly sight, I wish to give him something likewise intangible. And he already has today's Google Doodle... so I think a poem in order.
This poem originally appeared in Electric Velocipede and is reprinted in my 2011 poetry book, The Throne of Psyche, and it's a tad strange. It may have originally been inspired by the Great Planetary Weight Gain, or about a trifle of old fogeyish distaste for some other changes, less fleshly! Dickens had a good many distastes for the ills of his world, which he turned into wonderful backdrops and catalysts for stories of comedy and drama, so it seems right enough: happy birthday, Charles Dickens.
(And if you click on the little envelope below the post, you may send a Happy Birthday, Charles Dickens card to a friend who likes Dickens or poetry or both!)
WHEN DEMONS RULED
This world became impossibly complex.
The people fattened but were small as toys
Inside--lazy and sour, as though a hex
Had taken hold. A woman's outer poise
Disguised an inner cowering of nerve,
And often sons remained forever boys.
I watched my daughters flower, only to swerve
Toward superstition, lies, and games of chance--
In other days our kind had vied to serve.
The demon brood condemned me for a glance.
A devil locked me in their fortressed towers,
But when they saw me try to sing and dance,
Tower changed to thimble, and life to hours,
Song to shriek in the Ministry of Powers.
Now you get an academic star if you recognize the elements combined to make the form of the poem. I will supply a ladder, but you will have to climb up and rescue the star from the Star Academy yourself.
I suppose this may be why Dickens is such a marvelous depicter of both shallow-but-lively and round characters: he said:
"A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other."