Monday, June 13, 2011

Ode To Ms. Austen

by CWK

Ms. Austen, here am I, at your door, again.
Here I stand a debtor, a suitor, and a friend.
The gift I give was by you given;
it is the gift of words
fashioned by a heart stirred,
and then flung from fiery pen.
I present these simple lines
of praise conformed to hopeful rhyme,
and love reformed by grace plus time.

You fashioned novels like wonders;
wonders working wonders:
alive with fury, fire, and thunder.
And yet, gently, like soft sunshine,
you shown upon my soul in slumber.
You healed me even as you tore
my heart asunder.
You read to me, and read me all at once.
I did not love to read,
but I loved you, Ms. Austin.
And so I listened to all you said,
and drank your words like mead.
In reading I learned to love,
and in loving I learned to read.

Your stories stood aside my heart,
and raised affections which had perished;
your stories gave first hope
to dreams which I had cherished.
I found truth in your fiction. You wrote
truth stranger and stronger than fiction:
truth like prophecies belying false predictions;
truth like curses
in stern and steady verses;
truth like promises of life and benediction.

Your stories are old, often retold -- never dated;
your stories are my story; our story;
Your stories are sated
with simple beauty, concealing glory
in torn and tattered pages:
pages longed over, turned often.
Your words remembered, then forgotten,
lie dormant like spring flowers.
Your words are like the martyrs,
who – when fallen – rise in power.

You taught me romantic clarity.
With your eyes I saw; with them I yet see.
I see romance, true romance:
romance pure but playful;
playful, but never trite.
And romance honest and confused;
comical, but staid.
Romance groping along in darkness,
but ever toward the light.
Romance taking refuge in proper rules
which must o'ercome the pride and prejudice
bound up in hearts of fools.
When forsaken by all tutors,
your books are my school:

You knew exactly what he said
after she said what she said.
You knew -- not just men -- but man,
and yet I'll never understand:
you never knew love. You never wed
after you took the death of a sailor harshly.
In your heart perhaps you dreamed
of another Mr. Darcy.

To me you are, will be, poetry in prose:
the picturer of beauties I fail to speak, but know.
I will be yours, and you will be mine
to have and to hold, to lose and to find:
your beauty never fade, but ever grows.
And if anyone says different, I'll repine,
then punch him in the nose.

You died early: too soon to finish many books:
All masterpieces, no doubt, upon which I'd like to look.
But the books you did write –
in these I shall delight,
and turn over in the night
until the pages fall to pieces:
until the pages fall to pieces.

No comments:

Post a Comment