The Way of All WhimPrint
By David Lehman
October 7, 2014
“I would write on the lintels of the door-post, Whim.”—Emerson, “Self-Reliance”
Write what you think; walk what you write. [Berwyn Moore]
A fly’s blue buzz once helped a poet die: [Willard Spiegelman]
Let’s be misunderstood, you and me and I. [Amanda J. Bradley]
Diss all cumbrances bitching for a fight. [Leonard Kress]
Order is chaos when death is in sight. [DD]
For the final line of our Waldo acrostic, I opted for DD’s aphoristic “Order is chaos when death is in sight.” The line closes the poem with an air of finality. It suggests that we live in a topsy-turvy universe, made so by death. It is an ironically solemn, epigrammatic line in a poem marked by caprice, and it manages to tie together some of the loose ends—the poet’s death in line two, for example—while ending in a strong rhyme.
Brandon Bowman’s beautifully balanced flight of alliterative fancy, “On to discordia, on to delight,” is a worthy runner-up. Tamara Dahling’s “Obituaries written; whims end with a sigh” takes third place.
Honorable mention: “Only kites can lacerate the sky” (Diane Arnson Svarlien); “O let’s get lost, fall a lot—and each time rise” (Angela Ball); “Open the shutters and drink the night sky!” (T. P. Dordell); and “Oh, to be cast away on the wings of a fly” (John).
A title for our effort occurred to me: “The Way of All Whim.” I introduced a colon at the end of line two and otherwise left things as they stood.
Next week we will introduce a new contest. Meanwhile, feel free to comment on the poem, the title, and the winning line.
David Lehman is a poet and the general editor of The Best American Poetry series. He teaches at The New School in New York City.
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