[2501 – 2600]
Fruits of gloomy contrast sharply crossing
the lively flow of discourse, the wondering
masses gazing at the feast, a bride of
eighteen persuaded by her teacher to
gather purple passages mingled with
magic verses, as simplicity of
motive returns earnestly in ruined
vanity: Admirable brethren lift
up thy dragged down charges & examine
every tendency towards vengeance, what
Spaniards whisper & what Lincoln condemned,
in the respectable construction of
obedience relieved of independence,
of structure conceived as perfection.
First published: Unlimited Literature (June 2020)
My poem [2501-2600] (Fruits of gloomy contrast) is from my “At the Musarium” series of more than one hundred individual verses. Each verse selects its words from a different set of 100-word groupings organized by word frequency order. Frequency rankings are based on a count of the Gutenberg Project archive compiled at the Wiktionary web site. The bracketed numbers that supply a title for each verse indicates the frequency rankings of the word group that particular verse is based on. The higher the number, the rarer the frequency of word use in the corpus of source texts. [2501-2600] uses words from the more common range of this continuum.
I gave myself a few “rules” to guide composition. I would use as many words from the group as was practicable. I didn’t need to use all the words, but I should use most, while hoping to avoid wordiness for its own sake. I would avoid using words more than once. I would try to make sentences that make grammatical sense. I would allow myself, however, to use “little words” as needed: conjunctions, articles, pronouns, perhaps a linking verb. I would take words as I found them without altering their form (except for capitalization.) I wouldn’t change the tense or number of a verb. I wouldn’t make a plural noun singular or vice-versa. I would indulge my instinct for malapropism and mis-hearings, for antithesis, for consonance and rhyme. I have generally used a ragged pentameter of roughly fourteen lines, and I have modified these rules whenever I thought doing so would make a better poem.
I think that what makes [2501-2600] distinctive is how it undertakes to warn “the wondering masses” against “vengeance” and other lockstep actions and attitudes. The meandering syntax resists order, even as it ironically pursues “perfection.”