Being a collection of doggerel, verse, stories, politics, historical essays, satire, poetry, jokes, pictures and whatever else I damn well please on a variety of interesting (or otherwise) subjects.

Monday, April 20, 2009

On the Art of the Essayist

On the Art of the Essayist
(and the lamented lack thereof)

Often have I thought that I,
Erudite as I've always been,
Should take up pen and satisfy,
That old and recurring yen.

To essay upon this or that,
subject upon which I'd say,
scads of bold and earthy chat,
And snippets of witty repartee.

To comment on the days events,
To point to the folly of those in charge,
To challenge with clever arguments,
Has always struck me as living large.

Surely if only I took up pen,
Soon I should be well acclaimed,
As among the wisest of mortal men,
With this hubris I am inflamed.

And so tempted, I yield at last,
I gather up my facts and thence
Deliver up a withering blast
Upon the enemies of good sense.

And furious the work progress,
Through reams of paper my wit flows,
All the social ills redress,
My deadly aim is on the nose.

On and on I wield my prose,
Until at last my task is done,
I, with one final parry, close,
"My," I think, "wasn't that fun?"

Then I re-read my epic slam,
To revise, perchance to cull,
Going through the sheets, I am
Dismayed to find it trite and dull.

No, not a phrase has found its mark,
Nor any deadly wordsmith's slap,
Nothing with a lyric spark,
No, by God, it's all just crap!

So finally the traitorous page betrays,
That past all the witty wordy play,
Beyond the pleasure of turns of phrase,
I've really nothing at all to say.

-- Mark A. Clark

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Offering

The nine year old boy in this high drama,
Is me, you see, a lad enticed,
On a summer Sunday, in Indiana,
To the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Armed with a quarter from my good mother's hand,
For the offering plate as it comes my way,
As I pass the drug store, unbidden, unplanned,
Satan, within me, begins to play.

Visions of the wonderful, marvelous, double,
Scoop ice cream cone that my quarter will buy,
Invade my thoughts and give me much trouble,
My footsteps falter as I walk by.

I manfully struggle against my desire,
Defeating the serpent alive in my breast,
At last I escape my self-born quagmire,
And so, continue my virtuous quest,

From my seat in the pew I enjoy the service,
Dark and comfortably cool within,
Through hymns and sermon I rest in the aegis,
of a small town church in worshipful din.

Gently this time, so as not to be noticed,
The whisperer works his will on my heart.
As whisperers go, mine must be the sliest.
Slowly but surely my scruples depart.

I look around at the rich appointments,
At the plaque on the wall beside the altar,
Such large offerings and massive attendance,
Surely this place has no need of my quarter.

The offering plate makes its approach.
Brimming with money it goes down the line.
It seems to offer a silent reproach,
Heavy with money but hungry for mine.

I walk out the door, past the minister.
Fear ties my stomach in knots with a cramp.
His mouth is smiling but his eyes are sinister,
And they say, "Give me back my quarter, you scamp!"

I slowly walk homeward, enjoying that ice cream.
Sticky and luscious, it runs down my chin.
It may seem to you that I'm trying to blaspheme,
But I've got the guilt, hey, I might as well sin!

--- Mark A. Clark