I’ve been looking over my juvenalia lately (my high school poems, that is) and I found this one written to my (or I should say Our) late friend, Carol Rosenberg. You’ll notice it’s a gift poem, not a love poem–we were friends and it was her birthday and I was writing poetry about anything I could think of, trying to learn all the classical forms, and trying to sound like a grown-up, and this was the sort of thing that came from me at that time.
AKA – Birthday Acrostic to C.R. (Which just happens to be a sonnet)
Sonnet Acrostic in Honor of Carol’s Birthday
Chariot bright with the gift of day
After the roots of night are broke
Run with my shackles and debts away.
Open the door with a savior’s stroke,
Letting loose the white unicorns which, released,
Run ‘cross the dome with majestic mirth
Over blue plains where the stars increased
Since the emerald birth of the buxom Earth.
Even Diana must fall to your power
No star can but falter and fade and dim.
Beneath the gray tomb of the dark’s dread tower,
E’en though I can’t see your sharp eye or gold rim,
Remembering, I can hear wealth where you’ve run,
Glittering, burning, my jewel, the Sun.
(NOTE: If you forget what an acrostic is, it means that the first letters of all the lines spell out CAROLROSENBERG.)
Sonnet to the Dawn in Summer
The Sun hurls out in surprising showers
Woven bolts dyed in fiery tints
Which unrolled as the rippling cloths of Dawn
And turn the clouds’ boiling, pearly towers
Into heaps of coal through which the sky glints
As Venus is ambushed and, shuddering, is gone.
All the Giants of Earth wash their faces with splashes
Of the fiery streams from the chariot bright
And laugh like mountains to greet the morning
While their eyes mirror back the blood-rubied flashes
Or monstrously blink at the early sight
Whose flare of of the hot noonday Sun is a warning—
For though the Dawn’s music is pleasing to hear
The summer-day’s fire can blister and sear.
[I signed this ‘CJAD’, my invented name, Christopher Jonathan Abraham Dunn. I was born and christened Christopher Dunn. At some time in grade school I asked my mom why I was the only one without a middle name and she said, “I thought your first name was long enough. But, if you want to, you can pick your own middle name.”
What she didn’t realize was that I was applying for my social security card—which I then signed Christopher Jonathan Dunn (and that is still the Social Security Card in my wallet). But for taxes, phone listings and legal contracts, I am ‘Christopher Dunn’, my Birth Certificate name.
Not long afterward I was Confirmed as a young Catholic, which sacrament requires the choosing of a saint’s name as my Confirmation Name. I was a big Lincoln fan and I said ‘Abraham’. The nun told me I was supposed to pick a saint from the New Testament, but I insisted he was in the Bible. She had a hurried conference with a priest and finally turned to me and said, “Abraham is acceptable.”]
Thus, in High School, when I was feeling fancy and eccentric, I would introduce myself as Christopher Jonathan Abraham Dunn and I would initial my poems and drawings with ‘CJAD’.]