Poetry by Christopher Bernard

Rag Elite

Ah, it’s hard to be an elitist,
and not be a defeatist,
in this populist purgato-ry.

You’ve got to feel swell
even as you go to hell,
and remember most of literary
his-to-ry:

there was Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky,
Flaubert, Balzac, Chernychevsky,
Baudelaire and Mallarmé,
frenzied, tragic, or blasé;

there was Thackeray, there was Dickens,
Eliot, George, and no slim pickin’s,
all those Brontes and Jane Austen,
witty, goth, and little costin’,

Lord Tennyson paired with Browning,
Lord Byron and Grace Abounding,
and, not taking up the rear,
the one and only Will Shakespeare,

raving Homer about that roamer
and the burning of Ilium,
Virgil, Dante, Poe, Cervantes,
Aeschylus and Sophocles,
and that ancient Grecian tease
we all know as Euripides,

there was Faulkner, there was Joyce,
there was Hemingway and Stein,
and no writer worth his voice
could refuse the heady wine

of Spencer, Milton, Shelley, Keats,
young Rimbaud and old man Yeats,
and even though the fates
were or-ne-ry,

they’re now Famous and Admired
by librarians and graduate students and professors and junior high school English
teachers and the lame and the retired,
and will be for Eter-ni-ty.

Christopher Bernard is a widely published writer, critic, playwright and poet, co-founder of the literary and arts magazine, Caveat Lector (www.caveat-lector.org), and author of the novel, A Spy in the Ruins. Contact Bernard at christopherwb@msn.com.

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