The Meeting

The meeting starts
with parents concerned
to foster the arts
in children.
The chairman extols the refinement learned
and begs for funding, a five or a ten.
The treasurer nods prudent assent,
but his eyes probe the floor, intent
to find the crack, a door, descent
into a private plea:  Give me
a horse and sword,
the ancient steppes,
and I will ride to fortune
or my grave.

3 thoughts on “The Meeting

  1. This is hands-down my all-time favorite, so perhaps I just have a nostalgic attachment to the original wording, but….I still like it. I did like the storyteller tone of the past tense, though. But you are, after all, the poet, and if you can write it in the first place, you are a better editor of it than I. 🙂

    • The narrative tone of the ‘original’ had two significant flaws I think. 1. It lacked immediacy. 2. It tended to scan as a ‘sing song’ meter. This version addresses both flaws. Present tense commands immediacy, and the current rhythm suggests horse(s) hoof beats.

      Whether this version corrects either flaw, ask me in another 20 years. I’ll post the ‘original’ version, and each reader can decide for herself. (Believe me, editing is even more painful than original writing!)

      • I liked the “sing-song” meter in the original: I believe it set the tone of the meeting itself, put you in the place of listening to the droning bores, conveyed the irony of their fashionable interest in the arts. There’s a kind of building suspense or urgency when you get to “but his eyes…,” and then KA-POW! The lines of his plea take you right out of it, onto the ancient steppes. I think this contrast of moods was partly created by your use of the strict meter.

        But, I know, everybody’s a critic….. 🙂

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