No man should shrink from artistic adventure;
He must drink deep, live large, assert his mastery.
I signed this binding intellectual indenture.
And took the winding road to a cross-rhymed Calvary.
So it seemed through dark days of restless rewriting.
I had not dreamed, in all my vaunting vanity
Of such prosodic pain: words were devils, delighting
In strife, and the levels of strain on my sanity.
I’ve tried. Truly. But now I’m done, defeated,
My poet’s pride all run down in its designing.
A fiendish form: often essayed, rarely repeated.
And having played my part, I’m ruefully resigning!
It’s taken me days to work up the courage to attempt the droighneach; a prosodic challenge thrown down by Cynthia Jobin, which my dear friends Ina and Tom Davis have so brilliantly taken up and vanquished. I managed three stanzas before my brain melted. I may have another crack at it sometime – I confess there’s something strangely compelling about its diabolical complexity – but don’t hold your breath. N.