Old words keep some kinds of resonance
When breathed, yet on the page they show
A coolness and an insincerity
Which dry up drama, let the steam escape
From warm expression, draw the judging eye
Of the critic or call for disdain.
So this is a spell for mandolin and harp,
For just-contained jealousy and spite,
For confidences and for bloody threats
Whispered outside taverns in starlight.
If you step up and turn your head a bit
To hear, your eyes alight to learn my news
Of dangers and delights and hidden traps,
I will assure you, though my words be old,
My voice is haunted through and through by songs
Beaten in breasts through torment and hope,
Chorused in kitchen and down country roads,
Alive as your eyes to our destinies,
Resonating like a tense swarm of bees.
R. W. Haynes has taught literature at Texas A&M International University since 1992. His recent interests include the early British sonnet, and he is completing a second book on the Texas playwright and screenwriter Horton Foote (1916-2009). In his poetry, Haynes seeks to celebrate life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness without sounding any more dissonant notes than he has to. In fiction, he works toward grasping that part of the past which made its mark on his generation. He enjoys teaching drama, especially the Greeks, Ibsen, and Shakespeare, and he devoutly hopes for a stunning literary Renaissance in South Texas.