The sweetness of a flower, Emily;
The gentleness of meadow down, a skill
Whose soul is brevity; a wit to thrill
With master strokes levity. A plea
For nature plied your pen. Aesthetically
Enchanted men do kiss those lips now still.
Yet, even Death and Time cannot unwill
Those lyric steeds that prance poetically.
O Virgin ravished by Erato, who
Begot a summer’s day, a lovely lea,
A humming bird; o Bride of Beauty, do
Make room within your chariot for me.
Such verses as define “a funny fellows,”
A lign with Byron’s rhyme and Milton’s bellow.
©November 26, 1962, Donal E. Doyle (b. 1933)
The author of this poem, Donald Edward Doyle, is my father. We are both fans of Emily Dickinson. One of my favorite Christmas gifts my parents ever gave me was The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson. Though obvious, it was still revealed to me that it was my father’s idea to get it for me.
This post would be the longest digression ever about Dad’s history. I want to simply dedicate this space for private poets such as my father, and even Emily. Both of them had almost a secret relationship with their art their whole lives. Yet, keeping their poetry to themselves was not always by choice.
I wrote a short poem for Dad (or about him) a couple of years ago based on a video I saw. He was performing a dark and beautiful ballad on the piano. But as the video continued, it revealed something less. The artist is doing his job, the beholders are not. The ordinary minimizing the extraordinary.
the lens focuses
on young, old, and mundane
shallow chatter dominates
the camera’s interest
even in passive-aggressive lighting
attention merely winks at
the illuminated artist
his piano ballad will haunt memories
without creating them
I hear you, Dad.
Happy Poetry Month.