Martin H. Levinson
I have published nine books and numerous articles and poems in various publications. I am a member of the Authors Guild, National Book Critics Circle, and the book review editor for ETC: A Review of General Semantics. I am currently putting together a collection of my poems for publication that I have tentatively titled Signal Reactions. Besides writing, I like reading the mystery novels of Georges Simenon and taking leisurely walks in the woods. Please visit my website at martinlevinson.com.
An Avian Abecedarian
A bird called Dave
eschewed feathers gray
Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark
half a league half a league
half a league onward where
I saw the best minds of my generation
destroyed by madness, where Alph
the sacred river ran through caverns
measureless to man, where on either
side the river lie long fields of barley
and of rye, had we but world enough,
and time to gather rosebuds while ye may
I’d wander lonely as a cloud that floats on
high o’er vales and hills, I’d drink to me only
with thine eyes and take some honey and
plenty of money and a star to steer me by,
for hope springs eternal in the human breast,
like a Tyger! Tyger! burning bright in the
forests of the night, whose woods they are
I think I know his house is in the village though,
his luve's like a red red rose so worn with
passing through the bars his gaze holds
nothing any more, for what is this life but
full of care, we have no time to stand and
stare, in Flanders field the poppies blow
I grow old . . . I grow old . . .
What’s the Crime in Rhyme
What’s up with all the free verse
out there? Is it better or worse than
stuff that’s converse, that rhymes on
a dime, that’s fine and sublime?
Am I showing my age
wanting like sounds on a page?
Am I a rebel with a cause
desiring congruence and applause?
Or do I just dig verse
that is terse, lines with
designs, words like birds
If that is true I’m undoubtedly screwed
‘cause you gotta be mad or real bad
to buck a fad, have people be glad
when you’re going quite rad.
But time’s on my side
and if history’s a guide
what today is in style
will tomorrow be reviled.
Eschew adieu will come through
as a Lit point of view, long overdue
and perhaps out of the blue, but there
will be a syntactical déjà vu.
On that bet the ranch with utter
carte blanche or bet the farm or
your spouse or anything else
whose loss you would grouse.
The book of poetry
is a steel-wire cable-stayed suspension bridge
floating over the East River containing adjectives,
verbs and nouns that Hart Crane used to connect
the boroughs of Brooklyn and Manhattan, a name
derived from the word Manna-hata, a Lenape locution
meaning island of many hills that was sold by Native
Americans for twenty-four cucumbers to Peter Minuit who
called the sellers Indians though they were not from India
or composers of mystic and symbolic ancient Vedic
verse that is Greek to me like Plato’s desire to ban
bards from the Republic which means Ogden Nash
and E. E. Cummings, two of my favorite poets, would
not have found favor in Mister P’s perfect state.
Twenty-two hundred years later Keats dubbed poetry’s
departure from logic negative capability, an expression
I sometimes employ when my writing goes south and wish
I was Walt Whitman, who knew how to celebrate himself,
Robert Frost, who knew the right road to take, or Ralph
Waldo Emerson, who knew It’s not the destination, it’s
the journey. Emerson also opined in a debate on poetic
structure that one should simply ask the fact for the form,
an idea I have tried to put into practice but fact has never
answered me so like many poets these days I have had to
craft my own ways to tell a tale.
Wish Me Good Luck
Wish me good luck as I write this damn thing,
A challenging task on a bright sunny day
When a walk in the woods is beckoning me
To leave my desk chair and writer's cares
And amble on paths to contemplate nature
And dream of good work that simply gets done.
But nothing is simple in getting work done,
Though such trickery is a comforting thing,
It seems to be in my basic nature
If I think a chore can be through in a day
I do not fret and add gratuitous cares
That would cause me to whine woe is me,
Woe is me, woe is me, woe is me.
Repetition in writing is easily done,
It lessens the burden of prosodic cares,
A thing is a thing is a thing is a thing,
Thinging like that just makes my day.
Ah nature, ah nature, ah nature, ah nature.
Did I not mention ah nature, ah nature?
And let me throw in woe is me, woe is me.
Oh, jubilant day, jubilant day,
This sestina is rolling and round the bend done,
Recap and reprise are truly the thing
To banish and vanish authorial cares.
Authorial cares, authorial cares,
Most natural but not existing in nature
Where symbols are not the primary things.
But symbols are crucial to people like me,
I use words in my poems, dats how dey get done,
I pray this one over by end of the day,
By end of the day, by end of the day
I hope all my dread cares, yes all my dread cares
Will cease and this job will be finally done.
I’m impelled and incited by my inner nature,
Which seems to be pressing and pushing at me
To do this damn thing, to do this damn thing.
This thing that keeps me from trekking the woods, this thing
That keeps me from trekking the woods, keeps me
From trekking the beautiful woods, pricks my impetuous nature.
What’s a Meta Phor
What’s a meta phor asked Al Legory,
his love not like a red, red rose.
Don’t know or care replied Al Litteration,
an army intelligence officer, forgive the oxymoron.
Wham, bam, flutter, and flap! First-rate onomatopoeia but
Al Lusion was clueless about it and so was that ass O’Nance,
a couplet of guys who don’t know much about poetry
but are bionic men with iron knees abounding.
That’s what Sal Iloquy says and so does Aunty Hero,
Cousin Flash Back, Art Ballad, and Meister Singer.
Sir Realism has a different take, more open-form.
A prose is a prose is a prose is a prose, I think therefore Iamb.
Mussolini made the quatrains run on time and if the one I’m on
doesn’t have an elision I will get to see Con and Dee Notation who
told me it was a myth take to have written this poem when I
could have been doing something more inductive.
©2016 Martin H. Levinson