William Whispers In My Ear by John C. Mannone

William Whispers In My Ear

Maybe this month, the good tomorrow, perhaps this day,
or even at the last minute, a simple joy will come. Already
I’ve made it through the night. At this stage of my life,

I’ll reserve judgment as to whether it is fate or a predestined
purpose for my suffering. Yet there are many others who suffer
more. Who am I to complain or doubt the value of my existence?

Shakespeare once said our doubts are traitors and make us lose
the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt
another change.
What wrong have I done? I’ve looked within and found none.

I stand on solid ground and will not be swallowed up
in grief or fear or even pity. This above all; to thine own self be true
… If we are true to ourselves, we cannot be false to anyone.

Let boldness be my friend: Arm me, Audacity, from head to foot!
I would not wish for any other companion in the world
(other than you, my love).

Come, bring us good drink, and let the neighborhood rejoice,
hell, let the whole universe rejoice! For I have found myself
and no longer am I missing… my conscience can now rest.

   Shakespearean citations in order of appearance:
       Measure for Measure, Lucio to Isabella in Act I, Scene 4
       Hamlet, Polonius to King Claudius in Act I, Scene 3
       Cymbeline, lachimo in Act 1, Scene 6
       The Tempest, Miranda to Ferdinand in Act 3, Scene 1

John C. Mannone, contributing editor to ADR Poetry, has poems in Windhover, North Dakota Quarterly, Poetry South, Baltimore Review, and others. He won the Impressions of Appalachia Creative Arts Contest in poetry (2020), the Carol Oen Memorial Fiction Prize (2020), and the Joy Margrave Award (2015, 2017) for creative nonfiction. He was awarded a Jean Ritchie Fellowship (2017) in Appalachian literature and served as the celebrity judge for the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (2018). His full-length collections are Disabled Monsters (Linnet’s Wings Press, 2015), Flux Lines: The Intersection of Science, Love, and Poetry (Linnet’s Wings Press, 2022), Sacred Flute (Iris Press, 2023), and Song of the Mountains (Middle Creek Publishing, 2023). He also edits poetry for Abyss & Apex and other journals. He is an Assistant Professor of Physics and Chemistry [and the invited Professor of Creative Writing] at Alice Lloyd College. He lives in southeast Kentucky.

Image Credit: white flower breaking through the grief [pxfuel.com]