For Caroline, on Her Birthday

Caroline Tigner Moore

Although she doesn’t publish, my wife Caroline Tigner Moore is an elegant, accomplished poet, one who embraces Archibald MacLeish’s dicta in “Ars Poetica.” MacLeish argues that poems should embody abstractions in images rather than merely stating themes.

A poem should be equal to:
Not true.

For all the history of grief
An empty doorway and a maple leaf.

For love
The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea—

A poem should not mean
But be.

Archibald MacLeish from “Ars Poetica”

Caroline is a craftsperson, one who eliminates every extraneous word so that her final product is imbued with meaning.

For example, check this link out.

She prefers fixed forms, villanelles, sonnets, even limericks.

So perhaps foolishly, I have attempted to channel her methodology in a sonnet celebrating her birthday.

For Caroline, on Her Birthday

Modern poets eschew silken sonnets,
consider them passe, clichéd, old hat –
like antiquated Easter bonnets –
but Caroline Moore doesn’t buy into that.

When she puts her pen to paper, she seeks
to frame her words within a fitting form,
to render vaporous thoughts concrete,
even as they billow, swirl, and swarm

inside her head ¬– sonnets, villanelles –
fixed forms that demand strict cohesion,
apt rhymes and rhythmic syllables
befitting terrain and season.

Oh, how she has rejuvenated my life,
My discerning poet, my word-wielding wife!

Happy Birthday, my love!

Happy Birthday, my love!

3 thoughts on “For Caroline, on Her Birthday

  1. Thought that was your niece that wrote that one. Poems should embody abstractions rather than just stating themes. Shame Archibald had to “argue” something like that because, I mean, it’s not enough to just state a theme. Artificial intelligence depends on things like themes, which makes it — a little dumb, eventhough it’s learning at an extreme pace.

  2. Caroline is one beautiful women and smart too! She reminds me of Paris.
    Happy for you both to have such great second acts! I guess that’s what they mean when they say, you never know what life holds…

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