My Arse Poetica

(A parody of Archibald MacLeish’s “Ars Poetica”)

My Arse PoeticaArs Poetica

My Arse Poetica

by Mark Oppenneer

A poem should do clever and curious
As a robed mage,

Double-do
As square into cube,

Silent as the sleeve-worn stone? Bosh!
Noisy and moving to gather no moss–

A poem should do more than words
As wind beneath the flight of birds.

A poem should do many motions in time
Not as the moon climbs.

Leaving, as the rolling stone
worms and bugs to scatter and roam,

Leaving, as the rolling stone
The need to chase and capture–

A poem should do many motions in time
Not as the moon climbs.

A poem should do not one:
But two.

For all the history before my time
A single point or a simple line.

My arse!
there’s so much more in words for me–

A poem should do
Not be.

Ars Poetica

by Archibald MacLeish

A poem should be palpable and mute
As a globed fruit,

Dumb
As old medallions to the thumb,

Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where the moss has grown—

A poem should be wordless
As the flight of birds.

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs,

Leaving, as the moon releases
Twig by twig the night-entangled trees,

Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves,
Memory by memory the mind—

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs.

A poem should be equal to:
Not true.

For all the history of grief
An empty doorway and a maple leaf.

For love
The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea—

A poem should not mean
But be.