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

Sunday, 3 January 2010


Sonnet – An infinite distance

Oh look how close, a little handsbreadth out.
Stretch! Yet again! And see our comfort touch
This suffering, this low’ring cast of doubt,
Drawn by a need to prove we care enough.
The need is real, supported by belief,
That we can reach and touch and calm and heal,
That sympathy and power will placate grief
Thus warm ourselves and show proof of our zeal.
Delusion feeds this notion of a bridge
Between the selves that form these different poles
Our poles repel like magnets which begrudge
Affection flowing from our kindred souls.
But separation that prevents this flow
Defines the you and me we’ll not forego

Wanting to encourage The Crow, who's had problems, I was struck by the difficulty of writing anything useful (not exactly an original discovery) and so tacked on this sonnet in explanation. Crow has kindly allowed me to reproduce it here.

WARMING THE COCKLES 1 Mrs BB was not well over New Year and when she finally fancied some nourishment asked me to prepare Písmenková polévka. Which I did.

WARMING THE COCKLES 2 The strains of JSB's greatest cantata Wachet auf come stealing up the stairs to my self-imposed, radiator-turned-off computer room

Novel progress 6/1/10. Ch. 10: 3211 words. Chs. 1 - 9: 41,171 words. Comments: Metallurgy and memories of the transient woman mingle.


Julia said...

Perhaps your best sonnet yet. It says so much that everyday prose cannot.

But speaking of - where did you find the Czech alphabet soup? And were there diacritics mixed into the pasta? I'm glad Mrs. BB is feeling better!

Wachet auf now on as I measure to hang new coat racks. Cantatas provide just the right inspiration for leveling, thanks for the idea!

Avus said...

"Písmenková polévka" - thanks for opening up my brain in enquiry mode (so easy, these days, with Google). So I find that it is "alphabet pasta/soup". Now why did Mrs BB choose that, I wonder?
I suppose we can regress to the comforts of childhood when ill. I know my children, in similar situations(even into their late teens) would always require "egg chopped up". Diced bread and butter in a bowl with soft boiled eggs chopped over it. (I don't know if there is a Czech phrase to describe this!)

Barrett Bonden said...

Julia: I'd love to pretend I took a large slab of lasagne and personally carved letters (with diacritics) for my invalid wife but following the pre-Christmas visit I was in receipt of mementos: a bottle of Courvoiser, a bottle of Czech beer and a packet of indigenously printed Knorr soup picked up at a supermarket. Packet soup disturbed grisly memories of my first months in London but technology has moved on and this was acceptable. No diacritics, though.

In claiming Wachet auf as number one, it's a close-run thing with Ein fest' Burg. So much so that the two used to come on the same LP.

Avus: Dunno about the Czechs but the French go for boiled eggs with soldiers (which they call mouillettes). I think Americans call the dish you describe as "nursery eggs".

Plutarch said...

Poetry IS useful. You prove it. An infinite distance! What distance?

marja-leena said...

Proof that you ARE a poet, BB! Glad to hear MrsBB is better, nothing like soup and comfort food to help. Our warmest wishes for a good New Year to you both!

Hattie said...

How wonderful and apt. A friend of mine is going through Hell and needs so much comfort.
Wachet auf! Been listening to that myself.
And discovering new works by Purcell (new to me, that is), as performed by The King's Consort Choir.

Rouchswalwe said...

A sonnet, soup, and Bach ~ who could ask for more to start the new year! Please give my get-well greetings to Mrs. BB.
My patient wrinkled her nose at my Minestrone, and then she left half of it in the bowl. Hmmpf!

Barrett Bonden said...

Plutarch: The distance between two human minds appears finite but, in the end, cannot be achieved.

M-L: But where's the sturm and drang?

Hattie: I take it you're already familiar with Dido - Purcell at his greatest. Mrs BB (much better now, thank you) has also discovered P's King Arthur, full of modern sonorities.

RW (sZ): The Rejected Minestrone - that's taking it on the chin. Fight back with a Schweinhaxe.

Julia said...

Ein fest' Burg is another favorite of ours too. I've sung the alto part long time ago. And Avus, the Czechs do have something similar, but instead of bread they substitute flour dumplings chopped up and and scrambled with eggs (knedlíky s vajíčkem). It is a favorite comfort food here and you'll sometimes see it served with pickles too, just to give it a little central European flair!

Plutarch said...

Perhaps, but poetry is about curtailing the distance. It brings minds at least within hailing distance. That ties in Julia means when she says that your sonnet says so much that everyday prose cannot.

Barrett Bonden said...

Plutarch: I see what you mean. Poetry can arrive by the back door or by a door that was not thought to be there. In fact, poetry can bridge a gap that would be unbridgeable by more conventional means. Again, the sonnet really needs rewriting.

The Crow said...

Poetry facilitates a meeting of the minds.

It comforts, encourages, inspires, arouses, teaches, supports. Poetry is the touch of a hand, a hug, a swift kick in the seat, a shoulder to cry on - the most human, I think, of all our art forms. Thank you for yours.

I hope I'm not too slow in wishing Mrs. BB a speedy recovery, though I certainly hope her illness is gone!

The Crow said...

"...the transient woman..."

Good title, that, though more for a murder mystery, I think.

Or another sonnet.