I Sing Not for Glory
I sing not for glory nor for bread,
Nor for the praise of the credentialed clique.
But for hire more valuable instead,
To touch the honest kindred heart I seek.
I sing for lovers when love is green,
When time stops for a solitary kiss.
When light shines anew as with new eyes seen,
I celebrate your fey and fragile bliss.
I sing for the lonely, lovelorn heart,
When light grows cold and aching will not cease,
When your enchanted world falls all apart,
I offer modest salve to give you peace.
I sing for the pilgrim searching soul
Pursuing the heart’s true cause and treasure.
May Heaven’s Hound, you hasten to your goal,
And propel you to your proper pleasure.
I sing for the wise who see their end,
And, too, for those who have not yet awoke.
For to a common home we all descend,
With common dirt for all our common cloak.
I sing not for money nor for art,
Nor to amuse curators of our trade.
The simple wages of the simple heart
Will satisfy when my accounts are weighed.
A few years ago a friend asked me, “Why poetry?”
I didn’t really have a snappy answer. Actually, I hadn’t analyzed it very much. I’d grown up reading poetry. Some of my earliest memories of nursery thymes, and a bit later later the delightful poems of Eugene Field and the stirring tales of Longfellow. My mother loved Frost. In high school, our teachers introduced us to Shakespeare, Whitman, and William Cullen Bryant, and many others.
A few years later, when I hit a patch where life didn’t seem to make sense, it only seemed natural to express the distress in poetry. It was if putting things in order with some sort of design helped achieve a measure of equilibrium, if only for a little while.
And I’ve been doing that off and on ever sense.
That question from my friend set me to wondering. And the result was this modest poem.
The photo is from a time when I fancied myself wise, but still didn’t have enough experience to know very much at all.