Eye On Life Magazine

Lifestyle * Literary

Eye on Life Magazine is a Lifestyle and Literary Magazine.  Enjoy articles on gardening, kitchen cooking, poetry, vintage decor, and more.

Kaleidoscope and Harpsichord

As I’ve told my wife too many times,

the meaning of any poem hides

in the marriage of cadence and sound.


Vowels on a carousel,

consonants on a calliope, 

whistles and bells, 

we need them all

tickling our ears. 

Otherwise, the lines 

are gristle and fat, no meat.


Is it any wonder, then, 

that my wife has a problem 

with any poem I give her to read 

for a second opinion, especially 

when the poem has no message 

and I’m simply trying to hear 

what I’m saying and don’t care 

if I understand it.


The other night in bed

I gave her another poem to read

and afterward she said this poem 

was no different than the others.

She had hoped I’d improve.


“After all,” she said,

“you’ve been writing for years

but reading a poem like this is

like looking through a kaleidoscope

while listening to a harpsichord.”


Point well taken,

point well said.


But then I asked her

what should a man do

if he has careened for years

through the caves of his mind

spelunking for the right

line for a poem 


only to hear his wife say

after reading one of his poems

that it was like 

“looking through a kaleidoscope

while listening to a harpsichord.”

What should he do—quit?


“Not a chance,” 

she said this morning,

enthroned at the kitchen table,

as regal as ever in her fluttery gown 

and buttering her English muffin

with long, languorous strokes

Van Gogh would envy.


“He should write even more,

all day and all night if need be. 

After all,” she said, “my line 

about the kaleidoscope and harpsichord 

still needs a poem of its own. 

It’s all meat, no gristle, no fat.”


Donal Mahoney