July 08, 2012

A prayer for everyman


I was “in the air” watching Bill Moyer’s Journal.  I followed-up on Philip Appleman, one of the guests, and stumbled upon this delightful poem:

O Karma, Dharma, pudding and pie,
gimmie a break before I die:
grant me wisdom, will, & wit,
purity, probity, pluck, & grit.

I saw the qualities of a voice that arose in the 50s and 60s, namely, the beat voice.  Moreover, probity is a cool word.

The short poem continues:

Trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind,
gimmie great abs & a steel-trap mind,
and forgive, Ye Gods, some humble advice–
these little blessings would suffice
to beget an earthly paradise:

Even in a prayer, which is the form this poem takes, we get laughs.  The poet is praying for great abs.  Now there’s an honest prayer.  Ye Gods, grant me entrance into the Promised Land, but in the meantime, how about we cut out this thinning of my hair. Levity and irreverence are essential qualities.  Moreover, not only does the poet speak directly to the gods, he offers the following advice in the poem’s closing lines:

make the bad people good–
and the good people nice;
and before our world goes over the brink,
teach the believers how to think.

That’s the stuff.  I dig it: the simple diction, the sincere supplication, and the call–in a prayer–to reason and it made the flight almost bearable.

 Philip Appleman, from Selected Poems (University of Arkansas).





4 comments:

frenchtoast said...

One of the most insightful guests to grace that program.

Everyman 2 said...

May I point out that I’m a devout follower of the scriptures but I thoroughly enjoyed this post and the poem.

Charles said...

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch by ⌨ posting often.

Bill said...

I like ☜(*▽*)☞