Saturday 29 October 2022

Five Poems by Ken Gosse


Consensus for the Census

(Why we’re here in 100 words.)


We know Adam and Eve

had been made to conceive—

that’s a fact which stands out in plain view.

It wasn’t the apple

that caused them to grapple,

but Adam’s spare rib as it grew.


Their desire to garden

meant there’d be no pardon,

though that’s all they knew how to do.

And yet, had they stayed

and Eve hadn’t been laid,

the census would still total two.


However, the need

had demanded the deed

and its doing, they couldn’t undo,

that’s why, in our day,

things are much the same way

as back then, when they shared its debut.




The Sonnet, in our day, has been set free,

released from fetters of antiquity

as writers who would deign to take their hand

rack form and function to their own demand.


Their sinews stretched, sometimes a bone will snap;

each stanza, in its turn, a coerced lap

until their weary feet are bruised then bleed—

the Doctor’s muse, Igor, helps do the deed.


And yet, each sonnet does its best to strive

to reach an end where they will still survive,

in dreadful hope they’ll soon hear “It’s Alive!”

though form and rhyme and meter must take five.


Perhaps AI will be their saving grace

when robots codify their sweet embrace.


Where Has All the Magic Gone?


When magic words are put to paper

they will prove they’re only vapor

and when used within a chant,

what you want them to, they can’t.

Nonetheless, when writ as runes

and sung to ancient, mystic tunes,

they’ll still do nothing good or worse

which might affect the universe—

although they may excite some loons

and harbour humour in cartoons.


A Courtly Gesture

(Inspired by Sylvia Fine’s lyrics for the 1955 movie “The Court Jester” staring her husband Danny Kaye.)


Another man’s pestle was pounding her vessel;

the fool found her fickleness cruel.

He poisoned a pellet for mademoiselle—

it would prove quite a merciless tool.


Locked out of the chalice of her lovely palace,

the jester desired to best her.

He mixed a rich brew which, if true, they would rue

(a guest jest which he hoped had impressed her).


Since he knew that his dragon would ne’er taste her flagon,

the tincture was placed where they’d nestle.

Despairing the pair and their cool laissez-faire,

he bequeathed them his farewell redressal.


Natural Songs

(Thanks to Solomon Linda’s song “Mbube” later recorded as “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”)


In peaceful prairies,

hear the trill

the whip-poor-wills relay.


In roaring jungles,

lions kill

a wim-o-weh a day.

Ken Gosse usually writes short, rhymed verse using whimsy and humor in traditional meters. First published in First Literary Review–East in November 2016, he has also been published by Pure Slush, Home Planet News Online, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, and others. Raised in the Chicago, Illinois, suburbs, now retired, he and his wife have lived in Mesa, AZ, for over twenty years, usually with rescue dogs and cats underfoot.



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