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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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.