Night-Shift

Lucubration
Once Upon a Midnight Dreary by Gustave Doré

 

Night-Shift

Whenever I’m stumped for an effortless rhyme,
Whenever the words won’t fall easy,
When wheezing about on the gravely climb –
So that’s when the words come to tease me;
Late-night linguistical lethargies seize me,
Whenever the trumps are the harder to find.
And oozing from creases all over my mind
Come scuttle the lazy, the sham and resigned:
“Who needs a poem to rhyme ?” so they whisper,
“Nobody else is much bothered these days.
You labour at making all endings the crisper
But is it all worth it, the pittance it pays ?
Eve
ry poet, from preacher to lisper
Has long since rejected this overgilt craze.
Why must it be you who won’t flinch at their goosing ?
Still clinging to structures when others are loosing.
Oh, haven’t you seen all the standards reducing ?
And haven’t you seen all their rhythmless fame ?
All of the while, so your petty obtusing,
Is leaving you sleepless and out of the game.”
And so on, and so on.  I hear them, I hear them;
At three in the morning, it’s hopeless to clear them.
For all of their carping and mocking and chiming,
And trying, so trying to foul and coerce.
But still my resistance I’m loading and priming
To shoot down their posy and prosy-like verse.
If only, if only I unearth some rhyming,
Some trove of concordance to echo my timing,
Some anything, anything with the right sounding –
Some something to stifle my wheedle’ing head.
Something to root for, to bring their confounding,
Something of proof that will shutter their hounding,
Anything splendid and outright astounding –
Anything quick, or the voices will spread !
I must end the poem, I must end the pounding,
To let this poor poet at last go to bed !

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