Empyrean Flights Delayed


EXEUNT Hafez the Turk with Borbognoni.
Eratocles to Lesbia as he faces the other occupants:

    ‘Mad passengers on Life’s untimely main
With boarding pass, who signal to the plane,
Such sad and paltry virtue as you’re due
Would yet an airport’s tower misconstrue;
That pilots and their air-controllers may
In congress, or in intercourse, delay
(Desirous yet of wings they fain possess)
To mount the air—with each bright stewardess
Their forms and then their maidenhood address . . .

   Out, Out.  Such trash ennobles none but thee.

For craft shall ever land as birds must fly—
Checked luggage fill the hold when drinks are served;
And whether prey or falcon take to sky,
The crew must make our passage well-deserved;
Though lightning rend the night all ’round th’plane
And flame, as in a spleen, thy fevered brain.

Perchance you hope the pilot to dissuade,
Whose path through trackless wastes your flight directs.
Your shamming virtue tarnishes your blade
And though your flight be cut, it fain connects
That shining port of entry that you seek
Where love’s most noble strength is rendered weak.’

   ‘Away. The cabin crew methinks I hear:
      Fair Lesbia—have you my passport ?’


PROMPT #15:  write your own dramatic monologue.
It doesn’t have to be quite as serious as Browning or Shakespeare,
but try to create a sort of specific voice or character
that can act as the “speaker” of your poem,
and that could be acted by someone reciting the poem.


Burning and Luting

Behold a wonder here:  it’s DOWLAND ever through the ages…

Take up thy LUTE old friend.
Strike us a GALLIARD fit for the Queen herself.
The years have passed, great musician of our soul,
and the chill of autumn hangs in the summer air.
Mistress winter threatens to leap upon us; shall I strive to stay time?

Let fly thine arrows on the golden strings,
O thou original rock star of the Elizabethan dream.

They would not have ye as their lutanist but we would have ye John –
410 years later; we invite you into the inner court of our sorrowful souls.
All hail John Dowland, faithful musician upon the lyre of our lying hearts…

Sing like a dying swan, Master Dowland
the casks are still half full and the moon hath never shone so lovely.
What know they of truth or beauty, John? What ears have they
to sweetly divine the harmonies you entwine around the bowers of our declining hours…

Down, down, down in a dying fall of ascending harmony –
down toward the celestial heights of sorrow…
The spheres may move, the English gardens groove,  but JOHN thy music lingers ever
in the meadows of our memory and in the smiling froth of our ale-pints.
Awake, sweet love, and excuse my wrongs – do not die before thy day.

The ages have grown grey, Master Dowland
the music has grown thick with Babylonian dullness –
but thy jewels of perfect sorrow only shine more truly in the light of this leaden age.

Thine airs refresh, oh shepherd of aeolian pastures,
across the flocks and meadows of the centuries,
dispelling the stench of this present world – and we thank you for your music.

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