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David Plantinga Mar 2022
According to astrology,
The stars arrange themselves to bind
The destinies of humankind
Born under their hegemony.  
What malice made those twinkling lights
****** my children, and yet spare
A father to forever bear
Grief that embitters, and ignites
A hatred for my very birth,  
And the cursed womb that gave me life.  
****** in this vale of loss and strife,
Pushed through that vile and ****** firth,
I live and suffer till I die.
Are the stars locked in crystal spheres
To trace their paths throughout the years,
Quite powerless to nullify,  
The ruin and the doom they chart?  
Or do they skip across the void,
Giddy, and cruel, and overjoyed
To wither a poor father’s heart?  
If they’re condemned to blight
The fate of any mortal born
Under their aegis, they must mourn
The sentences their glint must write.  
If merciful, those stars must share
The misery their shining brings,
And their own brittle glimmerings
Must lance their conscience with despair.  
Extinguishing those stars that ****
Unwillingly is clemency.
Annihilation sets them free.  
But if they’re vicious, it will thrill
My aching spirit to ***** out
Ill-omened and malignant stars,
Child-murderers, and the bêtes noires
Of fathers, even if devout.  
Such wicked lights disgrace the night,
So, emptied, let that banner shut.  
An expanse cleansed of glittery ****
Contracts so closely and so tight
No spirit banished from its rest
Can enter through that dismal gate,
Once happy, now disconsolate,
Dropped in a world they will detest.  
Into that gap, the day before
And the day afterward will close.  
So that cursed hour cannot expose
A naked child to famine, war,
Plague, and the agonies this world.
Inflicts upon the bad and good.  
If in the womb, I’d understood
The pain awaiting, I’d have curled
Up tighter and would lock my knees.
Shutting the door, I would return
To a green glade and gurgling bourn,
A haven from atrocities.
Job curses the day he was born.
David Plantinga Feb 2022
He’s cruel and stupid, and ignores
His omened doom, pronounced, decreed,
And mine with his, no ranted screed.  
Though I must speak, I pray it bores.  
The direst warnings couldn’t save
My family, or those I loved.  
When prophecy failed, I should have shoved
Them from the palace to some cave.  
Now it’s too late to intervene,
And force can spare their murderer.  
I should prevent, but I’ll demur,
And perish too. I’m just sixteen.  
I’ve suffered, but don’t want to die,
Especially not matched with him.  
Even so, I’ll meet my downfall prim,
Trojan royalty too brave to cry.
And a song for poor Cassandra too.  I never faulted Clytemnestra for killing that **** Agamemnon but why did she have to **** Cassandra too?  She was his *** slave not his paramour.
David Plantinga Jan 2022
King Agamemnon raised a wind
When the whole fleet had lain becalmed.  
He’d sacrificed, and hadn’t qualmed.  
From horror he could not rescind.  
His wife has taken the loss badly.  
Not even kings can lessen grief,
Or render the bereft relief.  
He’d give his life for hers, and gladly.  
And jealousy has made it worse.  
The girl is a much younger mate,
But looks and youth can’t replicate
A marriage sorrow can’t reverse.  
Any captive’s understandably
A little skittish at the first.  
They say she’s mad, that she’s been cursed
With visions of the things to be.  
Shamans love to peddle threats
And when the worst misfortune hits
They preen like fortune’s favorites.  
And they alone have no regrets.  
He had refused a wheedling fraud.  
And then a bunch of men got sick.  
Confronted by a lunatic,
He’d given in, resigned unawed.  
A warlord doesn’t quake from fear
Because a foreign princess whines.    
Him frightened by his concubines?
The girl’s annoying but sincere.
Agamemnon gets his own poem.   This came out of the previous one but it was getting kinda long for Instagram.  Beside the Mycenaeans didn’t have dossiers and I wanted to keep the rhyme.   “He’d give his life for hers” refers to Iphigenia.  I’d have written “He’d have given his life for hers” but that would put me over on syllables.
David Plantinga Jan 2022
The ancients put tremendous matters
On oracles and auguries.  
When godhood speaks, the priest agrees.
Glib cunning fails when trouble batters.  
Calculations have a thousand ways
To err, while chance can cut the odds
To one in ten, or more if gods
Drop hints about our dossiers.  
Augurs read events to come
From entrails, bones, and scattered sticks.  
Their guesses are arithmetics
For problems reasoning can’t sum.
The idea for this poem came from Montaigne’s essay on prognostication. Agammemon will slip in later.
David Plantinga Jan 2022
The scaup is searching for a shore
To build her nest, a lonely beach,
Or rocky cliff no fox can reach.  
Egg-gobblers and roosting mothers war.  
There is no land, just churn and spray,
The billows heave and wave-crests foam,
Nowhere for her to make a home,
If there’s a coast, it’s far away.  
From hovering and fluttering, her wings
Are weary, and her soaring droops.  
Neither scanning, nor her endless loops
Find shelter from cold blusterings.  
And soon she’ll drop, and soon she’ll drown.  
Unless she finds a landing spot.  
And there, out there, a blip, a dot.  
A floe, an island made of ice,
Too big to bob, and just as firm
As any continent, a berm
Bears, seals or penguins would think nice.  
Not great for birds, but she’s no choice.  

She lands, she rests, she lays her eggs.  
Her frigid roost has numbed her legs,
But it’s a nest, so she’ll rejoice.  
Her eggs are warm, and soon they’ll hatch.  
Hatchlings can sip from melted snow,
But grubs don’t squirm on this bare floe,
And there’s no fish around to catch.    
Icebergs are barren and they’re hard.  
But far beneath the ice and sea,
Rich bottomland, a cozy lea,
The sea-bed makes a better yard.  
Born to water, they will breathe
Water, as their mother did the air.
And though aquatic birds aren’t rare
Gilled scaups are scarce as hens that teethe.  
A separate species, her lost young
Will never know their mother soared,
Or dropped the offspring she adored.  
In ocean depths unwarmed by sun.  
In that strange element they’ll thrive,
Becoming what has never been,
A species hitherto unseen.
Unknown to her, but they’ll survive.  

She drops the eggs, and trills goodbye.  
Then, mournfully, the scaup takes wing.  
To cross what’s past accomplishing.
The coast’s too far, but she will try.
David Plantinga Dec 2021
The Wit is nimble, and can skip
The longest distances with ease.  
It flits on an extended trip,
One day, and back from overseas.  
The Wisdom hasn’t cleared the dock, 
A wide, and long, and sluggish ship,
Her cargo a tremendous stock,
And filled as if by faucet drip.  
But such a huge displacement packs,
What takes a flimsy, skimming skiff
More than a hundred there’s and back’s,
A bounty to save Tenerife.
David Plantinga Nov 2021
Loquacious people love to spill
Plump secrets they’re too vain to keep.  
To tell tremendous news can reap
Friends whom novelty alone can thrill.  
The truth is common property,
And independently abides,
While forgettings are all pseudocides,
And neglectful parents can’t agree.  
Whoever lies confers a gift
Devising falsehoods just for you.  
Facts thrive where thistles never grew.  
Don’t give what anyone can lift.  
In legend consumed bread regrows
To feed a nation from one loaf.  
Truths regenerate, so any oaf
Can pluck a common, banal rose.  
Truth-tellers safely can forget,
Because some checking resupplies.
Not so with lonely, fragile lies,
Whoever lies must ever fret.  
Glib, easy tongues who scatter facts
Have given every anyone
A tale regifted they’ve not spun.  
Lies are what imagining enacts.  
The stringent claim that facts are few
While falsehoods sprout in multitudes
But where the robust truth intrudes
Mendacity’s scorched residue.  
The truth is a replenished ore
Dug from an open, shallow mine.  
Lies are a moon-grown eglantine
Or stories from a private lore.  
Facts are devalued minted lead,
Coins of a debased currency,
But lies are golden filigree
Which melts wherever sunlight’s spread.
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