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

Saturday, 19 December 2009

What did they do in pleasuredomes?

Sonnet – Harmless and invisible
With women I’m cut off the photograph,
Out of my depth, an awkward northern crotte,
Both bold and shy with nervous coughing laugh
A landscape made cohesive by a blot.
But here within this guarded crystal sphere,
Face hidden, body masked, words free to roam,
Why, I can act the flannelled boulevardier
Provide an entrance to the pleasuredome.
Unseen, I chat to women who, outside,
Would pass with nostrils widened in disdain
Would toss a coin while lengthening their stride
Would look for interest in a nearby drain
Articulate, I tell this sagging face
I have an answer to this lack of grace.

(1) Copy this and paste under D for doggerel.
(2) First four lines are, nevertheless, true. I left
the north unable to talk to, never mind impress, its ladies.
(3) Boulevardier pronounced English way (bool-var-deer)
not French (bool-uh-VAR-di-ay).

(4) Lines equivalent to whistling in the wind.

23 comments:

The Crow said...

Ah, BB. You aren't graceless, and you know it. All you'd have to do is speak.

And find a different class of woman than those too haughty to accept the gift that you are.

Nice work on the sonnet.

:)

Avus said...

With regard to the questioning heading, I have referred your query to a Mr K. Khan of Xanadu who may be in touch.

marja-leena said...

As The Crow said. After all, I've met you in person so I know. You are too self-deprecating. I like the poem.

Barrett Bonden said...

The Crow: Wasn't there a boxer called The Ambling Alp? The perfect blogonym. As to gracelessness there is one shuddering memory. Normally the prospect of a dance floor terrifies me but once at a social club attached to a catholic church (How did I find myself there? you may well ask. I still do.) where scotch was half the pub price the female staff of a nursing home, one by one, escorted me on to the floor. The last of my partners was the deputy matron, Mrs BB, easily the least enthusiastic. What is so awful about this memory is that at no time was I embarrassed. Yet I should have been. For an hour or so I apparently lent my brain to a Higher Being.

Avus: You're evading the issue my Kentish Bucephalus. You've known that poem for decades and yet you've never asked that question. Curiosity may have killed the cat but incuriosity encouraged the cat to sleep. A renunciation of your claim to be an intellectual.

M-L: Unwilling to let the mask of anonymity slip I was represented at The Bloggers Retreat by one of my more plausible brothers. He speaks very highly of you.

marja-leena said...

And who was the lovely lady beside you? Hah, you don't fool me!

Sir Hugh said...

It all reminds me of attending Dorothy Braybrook's Dancing School in Bradford when I was about fifteen - Bradford Grammar School boys thrown in with snooty Bradford Girls Grammar School girls. I was terrified. The liliehood of learning to dance was totally neutralised.

Lucy said...

Ooh-er deputy matron!

We all love yer BB!

Can you tell me why HTML tags appear in your posts? Are you writing in HTML in the compose mode or something? Sorry to be a pill but it's been puzzling me, or does it only happen when I read?

Rouchswalwe said...

The shoes have to be carefully chosen when the prospect of dancing looms. Shoe choice is imperative.

Barrett Bonden said...

M-L: My brother hired the lovely lady by the hour.

Sir Hugh: I went to one in Shipley. Came home in tears. Mother shrugged her shoulders and for the ninety-ninth time wished she'd had girls.

Lucy: Oh goodie, a technical query. I have a habit of italicising (So many foreign language quotes, my dear) in HTML as I'm typing. Is this a problem? Occasionally I mess things up by failing to close the command correctly.

RW (zS): Shoes for dancing - oh I agree. Wellington boots suit me best.

The Crow said...

Wellingtons are related to our clodhoppers, are they not? Only ours lace up, where Wellies don't, I think.

Equally graceful on the dance floors, though.

Plutarch said...

I suspect that this poem is the work of a cunning and triumphant Lothario.

Barrett Bonden said...

The Crow: If I wore your type of wellies it would provide the opportunity for cross-tying the laces and thereby add considerably to the dancing display.

Plutarch: Quite true. Nobody seems to have cottoned on (blame the doggerel) to the fact that blogging gives me this privileged position: I'm able to chat freely to women who, were they to see me in person, would turn their noses up. Not everyone is capable of the courage you demonstrate by attaching a blogopic.

The Crow said...

Re: your response to Plutarch - "...women who, were they to see me in person, would turn their noses up."

Balderdash, Bub! I fully expect to recognize you the instant we meet, provided you are in swim trunks, dripping wet, with shriveled prune-like fingertips, and those suave, alluring goggles upon your face. Why, my dear, I'd know you anywhere and would be thrilled to my marrow to see you draw nigh!

:D

The Crow said...

PS: Plutarch didn't need courage to post his pic - he looks fine.

Julia said...

I've always attached a Lewis Carroll Jabberwocky aspect to Xanadu. The poems do mix quite well together =

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
gyre and gimble in the wabe
Where Alph, the sacred river ran
And the mome raths out grabe.

Thus the pleasure domes were clearly illustrated by Tenniel and there were no doubt large flamingos running around in them acting as croquet mallets.

Barrett Bonden said...

The Crow: Actually, I'm astoundingly handsome and I'm growing my white hair long so that I'll shortly resemble Blake's version of Jahweh. Even at age 74 I regularly receive requests from women that they be allowed to touch the hem of my garment. But there is no universal agreement among women as to what constitutes male handsomeness and, coward that I am, I cannot take the risk. I am pondering the acquisition of a burkha.

Julia: Ingenious indeed - octameter lines that would sound persuasive at a gluhwein party. But it's for exactly that reason I never cite the Greek myths on Works Well. They've all run together like lengths of string in a handbag. As a result I can never be sure whether Diogenes is Agamemnon's mistress or which jockey rode The Trojan Horse.

Avus said...

Agree about the Greek myths, BB - all very confusing and most bloodcurdling!
Apropos your comment about intellectuals, above; I think anyone who proclaimed they were one would automatically exclude themselves. (Is that a bit like Groucho's comment on club membership?)
Season's Greetings to you and yours. I do enjoy our "conversations"

Barrett Bonden said...

Avus: I think it's time we came out of the woodwork, Avus. You read books, think about abstract topics and write pellucid (got to get that dubious adjective off the shelves before year end) prose. It's only fear of your peers that prevents you calling yourself the J-P Sartre of Ashford. Time to rise above your peers and recognise yourself for what you are. Of course the Vintage Cycling Club may strip you of your trouser clips and your pump may be smashed over your head but so what? You'll become a Martyr Intellectual. Come out in 2010.

Avus said...

Why, thank you, kind sir!
"Pellucid" - do you know, I think I have never used that adjective scribally or vocally. Yet it is an elegant word and almost onomatopoeic. (Why "dubious"?)

Lucy said...

I think this might be one of the best places for sparkling comment thread chitchat and repartee I know!

Barrett Bonden said...

Avus: Pellucid is both elegant and euphonius but its reputation is tarnished: it tends to be adopted by those engaged in "fine" writing.

Lucy: Only Plutarch seems to have picked up the paradox - the latest version of the mangy earless cat may look at a king (or in this case, queen).

ArtSparker said...

Is there any French word which the British have left...unimproved... in its pronunication?

You might want to rent the DVD of Pdaemonium, if you haven't seen it.

Barrett Bonden said...

ArtSparker: There are French words that the Brits leave well alone. Rather than order Brouilly by name they opt instead for generic beaujolais instead of attempting those three consecutive vowel sounds.

I fear Pdaemonium is outside my experience and so I'm hurrying towards Google.