Franklin P. Adams

(15 November 1881 – 23 March 1960 / Chicago, Illinois)

On Tradition


LINES PROVOKED BY HEARING A YOUNG MAN WHISTLING

No carmine radical in Art,
I worship at the shrine of Form;
Yet open are my mind and heart
To each departure from the norm.
When Post-Impressionism emerged,
I hesitated but a minute
Before I saw, though it diverged,
That there was something healthy in it.

And eke when Music, heavenly maid,
Undid the chains that chafed her feet,
I grew to like discordant shade--
Unharmony I thought was sweet.
When verse divorced herself from sound,
I wept at first. Now I say: "Oh, well,
I see some sense in Ezra Pound,
And nearly some in Amy Lowell."

Yet, though I storm at every change,
And each mutation makes me wince,
I am not shut to all things strange--
I'm rather easy to convince.
But hereunto I set my seal,
My nerves awry, askew, abristling:
I'll never change the way I feel
Upon the question of Free Whistling.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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