I've managed to add a few things here to my canon of work, through this poem, that I've wanted to achieve for a while. I've wanted to write in the early twentieth century style of Yeats, Frost, Sandburg, and Stevens, that I think we all long to accomplish not long into a grade ten English class. Simple, economical, relatable verse, but with a slightly elevated tone that distinguishes it just above unencumbered speech, and with hidden depths of clever meaning that allow the reader to relate the poem to any number of scenarios or personal meanings. And while this piece, I think, would be hard to associate with a cornucopian level of meanings, personal or otherwise (I feel that to be a weakness, my tendency to only thinly veil my political leaning), I hope at least I've been clever enough to play with the big boys of twentieth century lit. Note: I've capitalized the first letter in the line, in the old fashion, which I normally avoid doing, as I find it suggests a stilting rhythm that is not suggested by the flow of normal speech, and creates a bland tee-tee-tah kind of musicality.
Another thing I accomplished was writing my first villanelle (I also wrote a first draft of this piece as a ghazal, pronounced "guzzle", an Indian form, which was my first of those, which I'll post later), a form I've always enjoyed, but rarely was inspired to attempt (true of villanelles and ghazals). While it's true my thoughts tend toward the archly organized, and that is reflected in the rigorously structured nature of some of my other pieces (see my most popular piece, here on devART, the DD-winning Come Home), the Villanelle seems to me unique in that the repetition, the form, and the beauty of its organization are more organic, less obsessive-compulsive. The number of lines, 19, is a prime number, for example. In my mind, the shape of the poem is almost floral, like an iris, or a lily. I can imagine the painting version of a villanelle being somewhat asymmetrical, like an old Chinese print. Actually, I'm surprised to find that it hasn't made its way east in any way Wikipedia seems concerned with.
The last thing I did that I've wanted to do for some time is rhyme mouth with wrote. Not really. But imperfect rhyme that draws attention to itself, and worked in the context of the poem. I mean, there's only so many rhymes for resourceful too. So imperfect rhyme becomes an intrinsic part of the poem, which reflects my attitude toward the "imperfect" narrator.
I'm pretty happy with this piece, though I feel he obviousness of the message makes it weak. But that's such a hard line to walk. Being a staunch environmentalist (who uses a computer, yes, yes -- but I'm eating a gluten-free, vegan cookie while I'm using it), I see other environmentalists saying and doing very alienating things to on-the-fence people who would be very helpful to our (myriad) cause(s). But the reality for a lot of educated people is the foreknowledge that present-day actions are slowly shortening the lifespan of the human race, the way cigarettes shorten the lifespan of an individual. That's why I get mad at people lashing out at smokers. I'm like, "We're all smokers, after a fashion." It's just that some of us smoke gasoline, and some of us smoke feathers, furs, and fins, and some of us smoke sunlight. We're in the habit of abusing every resource at our disposal, and that's what perhaps we secretly mean when we say, "Man, that guy sure is resourceful."
One of the things I look up to the most is the writers of the now sadly ended TV comedy 30 Rock. For seven years they were able to present the other side of the environmentalist/social progressive issue while at the same time advocating nothing but making the world a better, happier, healthier, more inclusive place. It's strange to think that some day people might look back on 30 Rock as knuckle-dragging, but for me it's been an invaluable inspiration and source of guidance.
I hope that I've achieved something in that vein. After all, we've come a long way from the kind of slavery that was seen in ancient Egypt, or the understanding of the universe that was seen in antediluvian times. And isn't that because of how adept we are, like the narrator, at taking advantage of our resources? Is it wrong to be resourceful (the real kind, or the kind in my poem)?
In closing, I wrote this as a response to Theodore Roethke's 'The Waking', a villanelle about nature and the forward motion of civilization and includes the line, "I learn by going where I have to go." Think about that.