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This blog ran for more than two years with no graphics--and it received about 50 page views. I was advised to add graphics; after seeing the huge public that followed blogs dedicated to homoerotic images, I decided to use that kind. The result was a dramatically increased number of monthly page views, and the number has remained fairly steady. Most of the images were found on the internet; although they are assumed to be in the public domain, they are identified as far as possible. They are exhibited under the Fair Use protections of United States copyright law: their function is simply to attract readers to the poems--I receive no economic benefit from them or from the blog. Nevertheless, they will be removed if they are copyrighted and the owner so desires.

Monday, January 20, 2020

A MATTER OF SMALL MOMENT







A MATTER OF SMALL MOMENT



There having been no announcement, The work was far advanced When I happened on the scene: Some insect shell was underway – Head, thorax, abdomen, and wings Silently gliding, sustained by teams Of ants intently stroking it along.  It almost seemed The funeral caisson of a king In mute procession to the tomb, Or a Venetian war trireme Measuring the sea.   

Despite the ants tenacity And the roughness of the ground, From time to time sharp gusts of wind Carried away the outer hangers-on Of the excited throng That always seems to swarm around The edges of great undertakings.  Feeling the wind beset them, They must have just reared up, let go, And let themselves be blown away. Those that remained Did not miss them. Steady and slow, The small cortege moved on.   

But I could not dismiss them so.  They made me think Of all the launchings I have seen: Ships, missions to the moon, balloons....  Outfitted in yellow, red, and blue, Brass bands blare martial music While dancers prance in Mardi Gras costumes; Flags flap and crackle in the wind, And ribbons stretch, and streamers stream; The vendors of souvenirs, soft drinks, and ice cream Pop up everywhere; Phileas Fogg and the Wizard of Oz Usurp the atmosphere.  

And then the tiny gondola swings Beneath a silken dome that swells and nods Like some old Narnian Monopod Just come to life and visibility.  Ropes creak and strain.  The crowd falls still.  The frail ship and its cargo sway Upward, and slowly shrink away.  
 
And we turn back to work again, For all our momentary transport, Earth-bound – yet not quite the same.  

Balloons, Oz, Phileas Fogg, And Monopods! And gondolas and triremes – Incongruities fit for the Renaissance, That delighted in such things: For the well-designing ministers and kings Who took advantage of The occasions and displays of state To awe the bumptious populace, That always managed anyway To turn authoritarian rites Into subversive play.   

Perhaps of all the things we boast To set us off from other creatures, This is the most peculiarly human way Of behaving.  It is our nature To take a utilitarian thing And make it turn back on itself and say Something entirely different, and mean more Than we had thought before – Or take a thing meant to inspire, And make it an object of desire, To captivate and lead us on.   

It may be this, more than any calculations, That will save us from the fate Of the socially more advanced: From the relentless and complete Totalitarian organization Of the six- and the four- and the two-legged ants.




Balloon: http://wwwdelivery.superstock.com/WI/223/4128/PreviewComp/SuperStock_4128R-8425.jpg

Hunk: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/302444931199628233/  

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