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John Howard Reid
"Anyone for Love?" is an anthology of over 100 original poems by John Howard Reid, some of them major prize-winners in literary contests, and most of them published here for the first time.
Anyone for Love?
All poets look forward to their first anthology and I was glad that my publisher gave me completely free rein as to what poems to include and what to omit.
I decided to settle for the poems that I still enjoyed reading and reciting and to leave out everything that I no longer felt one hundred per cent happy with -- even though some of those poems may have attracted a great deal of critical attention or even won prizes.
I did make one mistake, however. I tried to re-write "A Modest Love". This poem had won a Commended award, but I thought it needed further revision. I was wrong. It was an excellent little poem as submitted, but I mitigated its appeal by over-writing.
At least I didn't change anything else. I am particularly fond of my tribute to Ub Iwerks, the cartoon king. I love that poem. It didn't win any prizes or commended awards, but I think it's the finest piece of poetry I ever wrote. The words have a magic all their own, They weave a spell.
Never heard of Ub Iwerks? But you do know of Walt Disney? Iwerks was Disney's right hand man, right from the very start. Iwerks created Mickey Mouse and a host of other cartoon favorites.
Here is the poem, almost complete. I've left out two stanzas which people who not overly fond of animated cartoons might find a little difficult to comprehend.
For all the shadows that the sparrow throws,
a step, a sly swift-winged goodbye,
no traces beam, whisper unseen
in the lighthouse lantern of memory's eye.
Yet incite an alliance of projectors' crusades,
and memory regresses to thoughts now seen:
Honed skeletons dance, frogs juggle maids,
playing cards play flowers, become routine.
The hand that created the mountain's smile,
moved mighty minotaurs to ride in a jeep,
ensorcelled Beauty, breathed mice into style,
that omniscient hand has fallen asleep.
No more will peacocks prowl in enameled boats,
or shepherdesses china button-down sheep;
nor dragons dispel a Merlin murmur,
or far-off landscapes their appointments keep
with kings and crustaceans, Lancelots and spells,
common-law commoners, crooning wishing wells,
fancy-free freebooters, abseiling puppeteers,
round-robin Robins and candied mutineers.
All that unabated breadth of Ub's unbaited skill
now sleeps the steep sleep of life's codicil.