June 07, 2010
A few weeks ago I wrote a poem to honor the lives and writing styles of some classic authors of years gone by. I consider poetry to be a significant element of literature, and as so, an important area in which to exercise dominion. Feel free to email me any poems which you may have written. I'd love to see them, and if one is really good, I might post it on this blog!
Of Authors Great and Gone
By John Horn
'Twas as a boy I loved to read,
And to the classics gave I heed,
To knights of yore, and tables round,
My youthful mind would lightly bound.
To tales of boys who thought like men,
As steady with the sword, as pen,
Whose noble deeds shone evermore,
Regardless, whether rich or poor.
I ask your patience for a time,
Peruse, for me, this little rhyme,
In which, unworthily, 'tis true,
I paint the authors, grand, and few.
The wordy prose of Verne is full,
With concepts grand, alluring pull,
Where scientific thought prevails,
And future's present he unveils.
His men are hearty, bold, and fierce,
Whose open minds knowledge has pierced,
They conquer lands unseen before,
Descending to earth's molten core.
Across the frozen wastes they glide,
Circling the globe with noble stride,
Beneath the waves a path they find,
Though dangers lurk, they are not blind.
Into his men Verne inculcates,
Grand, thoughtful, careful, noble, traits,
And power which could almost be,
Possessed by super-humanry.
And yet, his books contain a charm,
Adventure's strong, uncovered arm,
And boy doth read with bated breath,
'Till right hath caused the villain's death.
Now leave we Verne's prophetic works,
To tread ground where the savage lurks,
And gallant sailors, ships do save,
With "Cooper of the wind and wave."
The sun-bronzed woodsman tracks his prey,
Through gloomy night and shining day,
While painted warriors watch his path,
Prepared on him to wreak their wrath.
With hawkish eye the hunter fires,
Contributing to savage pyres,
His hand is firm, it doth not shake,
His eye as bright as crystal lake,
His limbs like iron bars suspend,
His cause the weaker to defend,
His tongue, unguided, without lie,
His heart prepared, if needs, to die.
The woodland forests stretch to meet,
The mighty ocean's watery street,
Upon the tides sail ships of fame,
Sailored by men of noble frame.
Romanticized the seas have been,
By rivers of J. Cooper's pen,
And pirates lift their bloody flag,
A Spanish galleon soon to bag.
With great precaution journeyed they,
A spy might find their pirate bay,
And 'pon the gallows stark they'd be,
A gruesome picture of the sea.
The gloomy woods and sparkling sea,
Depart we now for G. Henty,
The prince of story-tellers, long,
Holds fast the heart of boy-hood strong.
With armies, brave, the pages flow,
And England's banners proudly show.
His horseman's sword he never stays,
For stallions charge, not dappled drays.
The jockeys are not dressed for show,
Accoutered stern, spears row on row,
The art of war they have long known
Professors grim, with hearts of stone.
The history of each tribe he tells,
Their wars, their peace, and what propels
Their quest for ne'er diminished pow'r,
For which are killed, of youth, their flow'r.
Meanwhile, the hero, brave and young,
A boy of which songs will be sung,
Doth battle life with courtesy.
And thus the pen of George Henty.
The historyed wars and long campaigns,
Dissolve into antiquos rains,
As "Ballantyne the Brave" comes forth,
To prove the world his noble worth.
With gravity and joyous mien,
The earth's remotest parts they've seen,
From desert plains to Arctic wastes,
And sparkling coral seas he hastes,
Into Brazilian jungles thick,
Their paths, his boyish heroes pick,
As well the streets of London town,
They tread 'neath skies of foggy brown.
Himself a man of count'nance firm,
His men unlike the sinnish worm,
Instead their thoughts to ethereal skies,
Soar nobly as the eagle flies.
A boyish laugh, a humored strain,
A conscience clear, left without stain,
A purpose firm, a Christian love,
A deep belief in Him above,
Thus carefully they thread life's toils,
Acquainted with earth's humble soils,
Bereft of pride's eroding hate,
With good sense placed inside their pate.
Aye, Ballantyne a master is,
The art of painting greatness his,
And with respect we turn the page,
Upon this grand, enduring sage.
'Twas Robert Louis Stevenson,
With fingers deft his stories spun,
For Ballantyne he read while young,
And on each word breathless he hung,
Then as a man he soon became,
Himself an author, gained great fame.
"Pieces of eight," the parrot cried,
Treasures of hate, and many died,
As on that classic, dreaded isle,
Lurked pirates fierce, besmeared and vile,
By years debauched, senseless of right,
Dark shadows cast by flick'ring light.
'Twas also on the Scottish moors,
That Balfour met with kingly lures,
Caught 'twixt the Stuart hierarchy,
And England's German monarchy.
Yes, blood was spilt upon the sands,
Some innocent, by wicked hands,
Some shed in hope of better days,
When bright would shine enduring rays.
And so a heritage he twined,
With murderous scenes, and love combined,
With deft hands, weaving mortal threads,
To enter Britain's youthful heads.
If Stevenson ambitiously,
Wrote tales of kings and piracy,
Then Dickens of humanity,
Recorded sorrows dutifully.
The bleakness of the times he wrote,
The flowing tears of men, did note,
Oppressed by knaves, reincarnate,
Of ancient warlords, spreading hate,
Whose riches gained, by tyranny,
O'er feeble wretches gave them glee,
Soci'ties poor, England's outcasts,
Necessedly in constant fasts,
For food is dear, and wages low,
Thus writes Dickens, and he should know,
Himself rescued from vile slums,
By dint of small and hard-earned sums.
And yet upon life's softer side,
He doth occasion'lly abide,
Where crimson bloom the cheeks of maids,
When into sight their love parades.
And so dear reader, you have come,
Through years of scratching pencils' hum,
Unto the last of my chosen,
I thank your patience once again,
For journ'ying with the authors great,
Who long are gone, and yet whose slate,
Is covered with the joyous thanks,
Of those like me in boyhood's ranks.
Copyright, John Horn, 2010
For those interested in poetry, "Of Authors Great and Gone" is written in iambic tetrameter, with a rhyme scheme of AABB. Huzzah for the authors of the past!
Tueri a vulnere,