Lake Effect, Spring 2018, Volume 22: "After the Election, Traditional Forms"

After the Election, Traditional Forms

by Gary Fincke


My students are writing prayers, following
The forms of the ancients who expected
To be heard by more than their families
And eavesdroppers. They are considering
Their souls instead of marking their absence.
Doubt has drifted away from the table.
Mockery has left the room. Their ghazals
Contain refrains with Lord; their villanelles
Repeat: Resurrection brings white roses.
One writes a sequence of humility
In the metered lines of acquiescence.
Two finish devotion sonnets, saddened
By elections, afraid of those who hate
Aloud. On campus, they chant rhymed couplets
Of promises and march to the cadence
Of refugees. They hold their weeping signs
As if they were infants, wailing, at last,
The familiar litanies of longing,
The hallelujahs for their martyred hopes.