Two Stanzas of Ottava Rima Written within Ear Shot of a Skateboard Park (a reading)

Two Stanzas of Ottava Rima Written in Earshot of a Skateboard Park

I said, ‘It’s certain there is no fine thing
Since Adam’s fall but needs much labouring.
WB Yeats

Willie B makes it seem so damned easy,
each iamb in it is appointed place,
but whenever I try it, I feel sleazy,
like a Wordsworth wannabe pissing in the lake.
Yet even to Yeats it didn’t come easy.
A line would take him hours. Better to “break
stones,” he whined, “in all kinds of weather”
than try “to articulate sweet sounds together.”

Form versus execution. I hear the clatter
of skateboarders’ failed attempts at competence.
They flip the board, fall off, curse, batter
their knees as they try to perform the tricks
they see on TV — as if mind over matter
weren’t a myth, as if practice makes perfect,
as if talent can be willed. I say
time to shut down this computer, call it a day.

3 thoughts on “Two Stanzas of Ottava Rima Written within Ear Shot of a Skateboard Park (a reading)

  1. Well from what I have read on Yeats, he didn’t completely hit his stride until after his Senate run was over with, right? Isn’t that when he wrote Lada and the Swan? Anyway, you look ready to hack out a good many more yourself, Wesley.

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