The Art of Verse, a Progress

devilWe didn’t talk funny once upon a time
The way the kids do now
We spoke in even meter, perfect rhyme,
Made sense to sentence bow.

We knew a careless word might be the bell
That rang a god awake –
To what end, none could ever quite foretell;
A chance, then, not to take.

But careless we grew
and after a time, unsure what to do
or say, how, or to who
And latterly the language is grown askew.

And now, look. The gods awoke, all right,
and drank and danced and sang.
The gods went out, stayed out all night
wouldn’t go back from whence they came.

They’re out carousing now no doubt.
Oh hell, oh where’ve they gone?

And what have we to say for ourselves
anymore? Nothing, and more
nothing, the Devil’s taken the words,

Oh what were we talking about again?
Oh when did we lose track?
It’s too late to take care,
We’ve gained something
and we can’t get it back.



Very loosely based on a prompt: “to write … a didactic poem that focuses on a practical skill.” Because what could be more practical than the writing of doggerel?

Image: this woodcut of the 1520s or 1530s by Erhard Schön is Protestant propaganda, showing the Devil playing a monk like the bagpipes.



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