To Caligula, from His Horse (in Sapphics)

All the smug revisionists point it out now;
quick to claim as fallacy a warmth they can’t grasp.
True, our love remained an un-consummated 
partnership. Granted.

Mounting me was still an unbridled pleasure:
Please concede as much as that, won’t you? Don’t you?
Unexpected though it is, haven’t stranger
unions existed?

Can’t you see I’m down-trodden? Can you blame me?
You’re the one that broke me, as you’ll recall. You
claimed yourself as Jupiter, though Poseidon
rightfully owned me.

Dozens through antiquity beamed with beauty
marked by features typified as equine-like.
Haven’t I surpassed the attractiveness of
these in my manner?

Flames of lust will dwindle and die, but ours was
plodding love, authentic and true. It’s sure to
last beyond the lesser alliance that a
romance can offer.

Talking Shop: The Case for Frivolity in Art

This blog resides at the intersection of two subjects: that of spirituality and art.

If you believe in either of the two, the subject probably matters a great deal to you. What could be more important than your relationship with God? And why shouldn’t you care very deeply about the very expression of your soul? 

Of course you should care. These two subjects are taken more seriously by their–practitioners, we’ll say, than anything else.

But at the same time, both topics also demand a sense of levity that can be markedly absent from their discourse, writ large. How often have you heard a sermon that was devoid of liveliness? And how often have you read a poem by someone who clearly takes themselves too seriously? In truth, you’ve likely experienced both at some point in your life.

G.K. Chesterton, a theologian and a creative-writer, never shied away from employing a little lightheartedness. In fact, he once stated, “What can one be but frivolous about serious things? Without frivolity, they are simply too tremendous.”

If this sounds like an oxymoron to you, well, he wasn’t called “the Prince of Paradox” for nothing!

In any event, he was so adamant about the above quotation that he reiterated its sentiments multiple times throughout his life, stating, “It is easy to be heavy: hard to be light,” and even, “It is the test of a good religion whether you can joke about it.”

While the full import of Chesterton’s statement can be difficult to discern, this much is clear: he believed that a relationship with Christ was anything but stuffy and stifling. After all, isn’t joy a fruit of the Spirit?

But if the church can fall prey to a stifling seriousness, academia is certainly no better. Many self-important painters, poets, and novelists have churned out example after example of joyless art. In fact, literati as a whole tends to eschew work that they view as “low-brow” or less serious, whether it be *gasp* “genre fiction” or “light-verse” poetry.

But what’s wrong with utilizing some tropes, if it’s effective in conveying a point? (See Ursula Le Guin’s masterful works of sci-fi and fantasy, for example.) And some of the greatest writers in recent memory dabbled in light-verse poetry, including W.H. Auden, Dorothy Parker, and–notably, Chesterton himself.

In short, I think we would all do well to take ourselves a bit less seriously at times. Perhaps my opinions on the subject can best be summed up in the following aphorism by the Samurai master Miyamoto Musashi: “Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.”

May we all strive to do so.

Paranalysis (poem)

(by Daniel R. Jones)

You couldn’t write, although you tried.
So you arranged your suicide.

You sat there jotting down your note.

You didn’t like the words you wrote.

You knew it somewhere ’round draft four:
Living beats revising more.

The Brash Editor (Poem)

[Note: This poem originally ran in the literary journal Parody Poetry on Oct. 31, 2016]

(by Daniel R. Jones)

With apologies to William Carlos Williams.

so much depends
upon

a brash, portly
editor

and whether he’s
eaten

before he reads my
poem.