|The Debt and the Defence|
To whom it may concern or no,
there is no concern who I owe.
Those you hold in veneration
have blunted down my generation.
I protest. I’m not in debt.
Great literary god, I plead, please let
us tell our side of this debate,
say that words now still are great.
Giants we’re so fond of standing on
yet reference others in the long run,
so it is not such a grand crime
if we borrow just a little rhyme.
Remember, readers, every word you read –
the same twenty-six letters mixed, indeed.
We aren’t all inventive of new terms,
for who would understand those jellyburms?
So granted, I take for granted, my idioms
are bound to be old hat or um-
perhaps, with new technologies we could
create company names, metonyms that should
enlarge a rather short-sighted vocabulary
and put an end to the death of originality.
Yet I would say that though tropes are the same,
never before have words been such a game
and the ideas that have come before
only inform ideas now all the more.
Structure, sentence, predetermined previously,
are there for editing if we take them seriously,
but though we may seem to play and parry,
authors writing are never seen to tarry
and writing will move on from today,
despite the debt to the canon we pay.
(comment on this poem)