THE GAUDY REVELS OF THE UNFORESEEN


     "You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself.
     What you say is completely up to you.”
          —Mrs. Whatsit, in Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time


Does structure order the apparently random?
A veined and fragile leaf bright with new mist
Is chained to every tedious turn and twist
Of DNA: twined ladders rise in tandem.
The credulous take platitudes we hand them
And raise cathedrals, helpless to resist
A flash of light, uplifted Eucharist,
Till dubious salvation has unmanned them.
I find I’m more intrigued by happenstance,
The gaudy revels of the unforeseen,
Where love and longing do a drunken dance
With science, faith, and everything between.
Life, at its grandest, is no backward glance;
We cannot even say where we have been.

Robert Lavett Smith

About the poet: Robert Lavett Smith's work has appeared in Poetry Northwest, Hanging Loose, and The Hiram Poetry Review. He works as a Special Education Paraprofessional for the San Francisco Unified School District. He holds an M.A. in creative writing from the University of New Hampshire, He is the author of four small-press chapbooks, and most recently, of a full-length collection, Everything Moves With A Disfigured Grace (Alsop Review Press, 2006). All of these are free verse works. A collection of his sonnets, Smoke In Cold Weather, will be published by the Full Court Press some time this summer.