Moral Essay

Sing! Braggart Muse, the fury of the toad;
The awesome wart; “Rib-bit.” the croaking mode.
Correct me! Muse, unverse my form to mock
My crooked hump, to lance my tiny cock.
Cruel Nature, unbare me in the tomb,
Live me backwards from frog to wog to womb.
Never to live, never the pain of laughter,
Ever to shrink, to die, to hide forever.
Why God! Why beat the meter of my soul?
Why rhyme me? Why wit me? Why God unwhole
Me? Breathe Pope. After discord, harmony;
Sweet lines, the measurement of poetry.
England! See your awkward, dangling spider
Weave lovely lace of song upon the lyre.

Alexander Pope (May 21, 1688 – May 30, 1744)

Michael Curtis is a classical sculptor, painter, and architect who lives in Alexandria, Virginia. His verses have been published in Candelabrum, Blue Unicorn, The New Formalist, The Lyric, American Arts Quarterly, Amphora, Pivot, and many other journals. His translation of Afrikaans verse, “Land of Sunlight and Stars” will be published in 2012.