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Tuesday, June 22, 2010


by W.F. Lantry

How quickly our best times become the worst,
changing caresses into body blows!
We drink your health, believing that our thirst
could rearrange inevitable woes.

The ball goes rolling through the goalkeep's hands-
he's thinking lingerie instead of lines-
and as it settles in, he understands
he'll not be drinking salutary wines.

And BP, drilling, starts counting its gold
as quarterly reports and profits swell,
they're dancing in the boardroom as they're told
there may be minor problems with the well.

On sunny days we love the weather: warm
is good for punters, partying, and vice!
Who thinks of climate change? It's just one storm,
it's just a fissure in the Arctic ice!

When Father Murphy plays behind his screens,
he hums a little Wagner as he moves,
but when confessing sins, his penance means
he can't believe the Bishop disapproves.

Now Trixie's found her mark, and Jack his queen
or so each thinks, staring across pub smoke
into each other's eyes, neither has seen
his empty wallet or her tender yoke.

I've grabbed this meter from a man named Yeats
though we say 'Yates' when speaking of his song:
if you succeed at verse, each scholar greets
his colleague by pronouncing your name wrong.

Beware your greatest joy! It leads to loss
more quickly than a nightingale sings!
Grab what you can! Give it a healthy toss:
that's better solace than "Pied Beauty" brings!

W.F. Lantry received his Licence and Maîtrise from L’Université de Nice, M.A. in English from Boston University and Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston. The recipient of the CutBank Patricia Goedicke Prize in Poetry, and runner up for this year's UMB William Joiner Center Ellen LaForge Poetry Prize, his poems have appeared in The Wallace Stevens Journal, Prairie Fire, Ellipsis, The French Literary Review, Istanbul Literary Review and Writing for Human Rights. He currently serves as the Director of Academic Technology at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.