Lewis Turco is the author of over 50 books, chapbooks, and monographs including The Book of Forms: A Handbook of Poetics (UPNE), and his latest collection of poems, The Familiar Stranger (StarCloudPress.com, 2014). His epic, The Hero Enkidu, will appear from Bordighera Press in 2014.
A Marvelous Tailgater Bluesanelle
For Jean at 10:58 p.m. Easter Eve 2013
Had we but world enough and time,
(A lot of world, a bit more time),
I’d likely waste it on a rhyme
Because I’d write a verse for you
Instead of making love to you.
Had we but world enough and time
I’d spread my foolscap on my desk,
Pull out my quill pen at that desk
And start to mull over a rhyme.
I’d leave you sitting on the bed,
Your negligee spread on the bed,
Had we but world enough and time −
But we do not, for time has passed
And almost all my verse is past −
I likely wasted it on rhyme.
Perhaps I should have been averse
To scribbling yet another verse
While we had world enough and time…,
But no. I’d waste them on a rhyme.
Though indeterminate, I like the schwa
Much better than refrains like “tra-la-la”;
Its sign’s an “e” that’s standing on its head;
Its sound’s the first “e” found in “different,”
Which many may think sounds indifferent —
And they’d be right: it has the feel of lead,
But it does yeoman work — it’s everywhere
Excepting in the alphabet. Not there
At all, although it is quite often sad
And heard in people’s ordinary speech,
And you will find that too few pundits teach
Its mere existence: one might think it’s dead,
But you’d be wrong. The schwa’s ubiquitous,
For instance in the word “existence.” Thus,
Its English lifetime is unlimited.
In fact it’s very likely to outlast əs,
And if it doesn’t that might be disastrous,
But that is something we need hardly dread
As we enjoy our daily buttered bread.