Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

BB goes off the rails

Deprived of height, of hair, of roman nose,
Of wounding agile tongue, of confidence,
Of bulky menace clad in shabby clothes,
Of old man’s manners hiding fraudulence.
I write. Remotely, tapping on my keys,
Protected by invisibility,
Safe from the snare of facial expertise,
Of smirking physical felicity.
Quite unbetrayed. The words mean what I want.
I'm handsomer and more genteel this way.
Virtual yet virtuous, tolerant,
With time to choose the soothing elegy.

Beware! This safer wordsmith’s life
Could mask a man who loves to beat his wife

Note: Initially this sonnet employed the first person singular. Worrying about the obloquy it might attract I changed it to the third person. But I fear this may not be enough. It ain't true, I tell you. Besides, the man in the inset is far better dressed. PS: Ignore the above note. Plutarch, always a constructive critic (see his comment), suggests the first person would be better. Since some of the details describe me, I think he's right. The I form goes back.


The Crow said...

You charming rascal, you!

This one might be my favorite yet. It is less formal, more approachable, if that's the right word. You seem to be more comfortable with the idea you are a poet.

But an elegy? I wouldn't call this a lament. I'd call it a delight.


Plutarch said...

One shares your reluctance to use the first person singular. Sometimes one can say "you" when one means "one", just as one say "one" when one means "I". Translating the first person to the third person is a dodge that can stem from modesty, though if one proceeds to mention one's own name in a later sequence, one finds yourself in the company of Julius Caesar and Charles De Gaule when writing autobiography. "One", of course, is what the Royals indulge in, and I don't suggest that we should subscribe to that habit. So only joking. I think I'm coming round to "I" wherever I mean I. Having re-read you poem replacing the personal pronoun where appropriate, I think perhaps that you should too, in order to make it even better. And it is a precise and memorable evocation that requires no pussyfooting.

Barrett Bonden said...

The Crow: Only a virtual rascal, at best. Possibly something far worse.

Plutarch: I think you're right. Some of the details relate specifically to my own appearance. I'll re-instate the perpendicular.

Julia said...

Jumping in with my editing habit on, I'd remove "often" to make the last line stronger. (Though now I think you should write a poem where your wife gets the upper hand!)

Barrett Bonden said...

Julia: No sooner said than done. As always you were right

Anonymous said...

there is a non-negotional ban on the use of BB's wife inthis blog.Sorry

Barrett Bonden said...

The Kraken wakes.

Avus said...

Loved Mrs BB's (I presume) interjection, and your reply. Every Shakespeare must have his Anne Hathaway.

I wrote some poetry when younger, but the half decent stuff would only come when I was depressed - so I hope you are mentally spry (I note the poem is filed under "medical").

Barrett Bonden said...

Avus: Medical - well spotted! As to health I may have exorcised la maladie anglaise by sonnetising it. I am less confident it will work for future ailments.