Candide’s Theodicy Dizain

If volcanos sprayed delicious rainbows
and earthquakes were charming soft melodies.
If childhood could never be outgrown,
and ticks were not the hosts of lyme disease.
Then faith would be an easy evening breeze.

If we all could enjoy stock dividends,
and cocaine were a vital vitamin,
then free will would not be a tricky brew.
If our gardens were suffice to attend,
then “the best of possible worlds” is true.

— by Sabio Lantz, July 2019


BTW, I prefer poems with obvious titles, and poems written so anyone can understand without guessing.  Yet here, I have consciously violated my own preferences.  And so, in repentance, I offer the following:

The Challenge:

Rosemary, @d’Verse Poets, hosts the Form Challenge introducing us to “The Dizain”. Troubadours (singing poets) in medieval France, employed many forms with one family of those forms being “The Ballade” (a “dancing song” — not to be confused with a Ballad). All variants of the Ballade had three characteristics:  (1) had lines with the same syllable count (and sometimes the same meter), (2) had a strict rhyme pattern, (3) was composed of fixed stanzas. The “Ballade Supreme” had 3 stanzas of 10 lines each. The Dizain was merely an evolved shorter form, being one of those stanzas from a Ballade Supreme — with some splitting that stanza in two.  Its rhyme pattern must be ababb / ccdcd .

Background to my poem:

Voltaire (1694 – 1778), a French witty philosopher, wrote a satirical short story about a fictional character called “Candide” who went through his horrible life confronting the Church’s ridiculous theory at the time (Theodicy) that the horrible suffering in this life is necessary if humans are to have free will.  To the Church, this is the “best of all possible worlds” God could have created. So I used this ancient French form (1400s), honoring the French man’s doubts (1700s), set to modern circumstances (2000s).  I hope one or two of you have read this far, otherwise, my poem will be rightfully obscure to but a few. Smile.




I’d prefer to play a loud vibrant bass,
than faithfully fish for an occasional bass.

I’d rather shoot an arrow from a bow
than do a slow yoga sun bow.

I’d bet rhyme would make you more content
than all of this linguistic content.

— by Sabio Lantz, July 2019

Prompt: Grace, at d’Verse poets , asks us for a 44-word poem with the word “sun” somewhere within. Here I hoped to make silliness of English wind like the wind through my poem.

Prompt: Sarah, @ dVerse Poets, asks us to write a poem about a market. So I have written about a market visited and understood by all.

Markets of Superstition

Incense, gongs and chimes
sutras, surahs and verses that rhyme.

Spirits, saints, angels and more
Ways to get through heaven’s doors

Markets of faiths – holy din –
promising ways out of horrible sin.

Amulets and prayers promising to protect
the trusting, abiding and faithful select.

“Your children will be moral in all their ways.”
“Your grandkids will visit you on holy days.”

Oh, how do we choose the best product to buy?
Doesn’t one have to be just perfectly right?

Or maybe they all are equal fictitious errors,
to lure us into their sanctimonious lairs.

— by Sabio Lantz, June 2019

Prompt: Merril @ d’Verse Poets challenges us to write about the theory of everything (TOE) or something about theories.  I am being indulgent here and writing a prose-like composition on the theme.  As always, corrections, questions, doubts, suggestions and chastisements are coveted much more than bland compliments.


The Beauty of Failure, Imperfection and Yuan

After years of experimentation, I return
over and over to three stances I try to nurture:

Hexagram-41(1) Failure

I use to be a Christian, a Marxist, a Vegetarian,
an Acupuncturist, a Libertarian, a Mystic,
a Buddhist, a Homeopath and many more.
I have failed and given up on all of them.

But the identities to which I am most committed
are those of a failure and ignorance–of these I am certain.

We foolishly thirst for theories that always work:

the towerIn government:
socialism, capitalism, communism and anarchism.

In normative ethics:
Consequentialism, Pragmatics, Deontological, and Virtue Ethics

In psychotherapy:
Behavioral, Cognitive, Humanistic, psychoanalysis

In diets:
Carnivore, Vegan, Macrobiotic, Mediterranean, SAD.

In religions:
Need I list them? So many gods,
so little time to choose,
while we all eat, sleep, work, love,
fight, play, fear, hate and die — no matter our choice.

imperfect pottery(2) Imperfection

We should never strive to be perfect —
not even near perfect.
We should, instead, strive to know
our twitches, kinks and weaknesses.
We should treasure insight into our imperfections.
Then, instead of struggling to change them,
we should learn them, feel them
and guard others and ourselves from them,
or get use to them and maybe even love them.

Yuan_black_script(3) Yuan 

“Yuan” is a Chinese word
for vibrant meaningful connections.
While being comfortable with ignorance,
embracing imperfection
we should value Yuan
more than happiness.

Excuse to Connect

Prompt: Gina, @ d’Verse Poets, asks us to write a nonfictional Haibun (short prose + a matching haiku) around the idea of a picnic. For today’s poetry pole poem, I posted Max Garland’s “Happiness“.

Sumo 1

More than Meets the Eye

There was a town jock
head thick as a rock
The girls would all gawk
while geeks would all mock,
Very stiff in his walk
this comes as no shock,

All thoughts complete crock
from pot round the clock,
brain rot.
High, listening to Bach
his mind did unlock
Cheering fans did flock
he showed his best block
and squat.

— by Sabio Lantz, April 2019


Prompt: Grace, @d’Verse Poets, challenges us to write a “Lai” — a very old French form: one or more stanza each be exactly 9 lines with repeated syllables of aab,aab,aab rhyme in the stanza and exact syllable counts of 552,552,552.  I have seen this poem form used well with humor, much like a limerick, so I gave it a shot and added a home-made montage of borrowed images for fun.

Nature’s Grace

Shocking Red HawkNature’s Grace

A poem took a walk
to lose writer’s block.
He thought …
Needing a rhyme doc
from too much head-talk
Mind knot !
Spotting a red hawk
his mind felt a shock
Jackpot !

— by Sabio Lantz, April 2019


Prompt: Grace, @d’Verse Poets, challenges us to write a “Lai” — a very old French form: one or more stanza each be exactly 9 lines with repeated syllables of aab,aab,aab rhyme in the stanza and exact syllable counts of 552,552,552. Here I write about how we often write — the poem, as if its own creature, often gets it flashes, not from our striving thoughts, but from what sounds us.