Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Amita Sarjit Ahluwalia writes


Come to the Master

Or wander, waste, wither 

Flick of the wrist
Twist of the tongue


A brushstroke here
A dab there
It’s done

You labour
Like Ovid‘s mountain
And birth a mouse

You strain
From hardbound brain
Six lines a year
The rest
Is tosh

If someone binds it in gold
Dust doesn’t become a Rose

Though my rose turns to dust tomorrow
Today it’s a wildflower bouquet
With jonquil fragrance
And wild rose

Neither coldness nor burning envy
Sharing is different
Skin warm
Pearl on warm skin

Ephemeral, all

Soon breaks
Time’s string 

Pearls scattered
Lives wasted
Great Expectations -- Thomas Nast


  1. In "Ars Poetica" Quintus Horatius Flaccus discussed what to avoid in a poem's opening, using one of Aesop's well-known fables as illustration:

    And don’t start like the old writer of epic cycles:
    ‘Of Priam’s fate I’ll sing, and the greatest of Wars.’
    What could he produce to match his opening promise?
    Mountains will labour: what’s born? A ridiculous mouse!

    The allusion was to speech acts which promise much but deliver little, especially in literary and political contexts. Nast's cartoon in the May 1982 "Harper's Weekly" satirized Horace Greeley's nomination as president by the Democratic Party and the Liberal Republcans, a party that broke off from the Republican Party. Greeley, the editor of the "New York Tribune," had no political or government experience, was notorious for his eccentric, erratic persona and his support of a wide variety of fringe ideas from vegetarianism to spiritualism, as well as his frequent reversals of opinion. He lost to incumbent president Ulysses S. Grant; Grant's winning percentage was the highest between 1828 and 1904, while Greeley's losing percentage was the lowest between 1848 and 1904.

  2. Thank you for expanding on and providing a detailed reference to my Ovid allusion, Duane Vorhees !


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