Ralph Monday is an Associate Professor of English at Roane State Community College in Harriman, TN., where he teaches composition, literature, and creative writing courses. He has been published widely in over 50 journals, including Agenda, The New Plains Review, New Liberties Review,Fiction Week Literary Review, Crack the Spine and many others. His poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Houghton Mifflin’s “Best of” Anthologies, as well as other awards. A chapbook, All American Girl and Other Poems, was published in July 2014. A book Lost Houses and American Renditions is scheduled for publication in May 2015 by Aldrich Press.
Forces that Drove the Poem
If I were ancient Greek Erato would
be the muse driving the chariot. Satyrs,
epic heroes, wine dark seas, hollow horses—
all depicted on a golden shield made
by the gods would plough the field melodious.
If Knight in shining white armour, the maiden
pedestaled to receive my courtly love,
this is the steed that I would ride to adore
the beatific vision from afar, unspoiled,
perfect love presented in a perfect rose.
If Dante, lost in the Dark Wood, allegory
inspired, the poem becomes spiritual
necessity for traveling the infested
circles of poetic sin, Virgil but
a quaint companion, afterthought, Francesca .
If a passion filled Romantic the search
for the sublime obsesses lyrical lines.
Romantic love an aching unfilled hole
in the heart, mortared only by imagination’s
dream, the rational put away to bed.
If a Modern the meaningless search for
history’s truths is a fragmented wound
healed by grand narratives, science’s march,
a return to myth made personal,
a lost generation moved by nation’s loss.
If postmodern petite narratives are
the driving force, diversity a religion
where parody, pastiche, becomes a
Frankenstein relativity quilt, reality
a deconstructed construct for the mind.
All together now, like three musketeers,
these six muses wrote the poem, the poem wrote
them. History’s fingers sluicing through debris,
random moments plucked from time’s gate,
passing on and away. Read the rest of Ralph’s poems here.