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

Friday, 19 February 2010

Antipathy's more interesting

Sonnet – Could be a pastiche
Don’t tell me of your loves but of your hates,
For love contains such blurry variants
As duty, honour, civilised dictates,
Self-sacrifice, denial, diligence.
Anathema can shine a caring light
Upon the limits of your honesty,
Love goes unquestioned, while your latest spite
Is tested for its authenticity.
Your dislikes tell me most, but note this catch,
I need conciseness, wit and evidence;
A critic lacking surgical despatch
Deserves the rebound of incompetence.
Hate me but do it with sufficient art
And like as not I’ll suffer Cupid’s dart.

RECYCLING - THE MODERN TENDENCY On Wednesday we saw Freddy Kempf play Bach's Goldberg Variations. Hatch, like many engineers, imagines he's a Bach fan. The woman he's dining with thinks his is a shallow attachment:
“Get the complete (Goldberg Variations) and listen to the whole eighty minutes. Listen to the turbulence and the tenderness. Sometimes, it’s more like an opera than a keyboard work. You’ll forget all about that symmetry rubbish; what you’ll remember is the passion.”

Novel progress 21/2/10. Ch. 15: 4936 words (finished but not edited). Chs. 1 - 14: 63,137 words. Comments: Hatch in Arcadia.


Relucent Reader said...

Antipathy works with books, esp amongst teenagers. They may not be able to articulate what they liked, but they have no problem telling me why they did not like the last book I gave them...

Haven't commented on yer poetry before, BB, good as it is; this one is a pip. Again, the timing amazes me...

I'll pick up the gauntlet: tonight I will be posting a screed which has been festering for a couple days. Won't be poetry; I enjoy the stuff, but when I attempt it..... crap. And there is already too much of that Out There.

The Crow said...

I like this one very much, BB - lots of you in this, easily seen.

So much better than flipping the bird, too...a good strike to the heart.

Plutarch said...

I enjoy, the phrase "surgical despatch", which works well, unless you happen to be a surgeon, whose responsibilites tend towards preservation.

Julia said...

Better and better.

You are right about Bach and engineers. I blame Gödel, Escher, Bach.

Plutarch said...

I would like to add that this sonnet is not only Shakespearean in form, but in sentiment and felicity of expression as well. Several lines might have been written by the Bard himself including the final couplet.

Barrett Bonden said...

RR: I find the antipathies of people I admire instructive provided they are well articulated Especially in music. When Ashkenazy was still resident in the USSR the state forced him to enter the big piano competition because it was feared an American might win. Explaining this many years later he said the Tchaikovsky piano concerto (the test piece) wasn't his cup of tea: "I don't like such showy music." Not only was he expressing an antipathy but he was also breaking the general conspiracy among professional musicians never to criticise the works. By implication they're all masterpieces.

There's no reason why you should do poetry since you have an individual prose voice and a admirably recognisable style of writing. That's why I read you (and for the subjects, of course). However with your obvious feeling for language I'm pretty sure you could do poetry if you had some instruction, as I had.

The Crow: You may wonder, given Mrs BB's interest in books and other cultural matters, why I rarely invoke her reaction to what I write. This is by mutual agreement; I neither require nor expect her to read it and I understand completely if she ignores it. However in this case she volunteered she liked the sonnet since it caught my "curmudgeonliness".

I take pride in understanding US argot but you've beaten me with "flipping the bird".

Plutarch 1: Whenevr I ever come up with anything that could be described as creative ambiguity it's always by accident. But I appreciate the indicator.

Julia: Some engineers go even further, implying they've seen through all that decorative rubbish by Mozart, LvB, et al, and they've arrived at the massive Bachian truth that is hidden from lesser, non-engineering music listeners. And then it becomes a sort of moral crusade.

Plutarch 2: I'm glad you noticed that. When I'd finished I noticed certain resonances, a certain hortatory tone that faintly evoked the seventeenth century. Always keen to avoid the charge of hubris I opted for the title you see

The Crow said...

I may have misread your sonnet. I thought it a retort to an offensive encounter. (The bird is the middle digit.)

At the risk of sounding like a tag-along me-too, I agree with Plutarch's comparison to Shakespeare, and Mrs. BB's assessment, as well. But, then, I like curmudgeons, always have. Most speak honestly, clearly, to the point, no pussyfootin' around.

Barrett Bonden said...

The Crow: I'm glad I raised the point. I've just re-read the sonnet and recognised immediately how easy it is to get that impression. There's a sort of exhilaration to find us discussing a verse I didn't write but then the writer must acknowledge that the reader has rights too. You didn't misread the thing, you read it and saw what you saw; ironically it's not something I can take credit for. I shouldn't try and explain verse because it raises the question: why didn't I therefore write it in prose first time round? For the record though: enthusiasms frequently betray the subject they're based on; well formed, articulate criticism which is not simply dismissive is often more instructive. There's a logical flaw here (badly expressed praise vs. well expressed bad-mouthing) but those that aspire to write verse are rarely free from prejudice.

Rouchswalwe said...

Absurdities in life would simply continue without articulate curmudgeons amongst us. It takes courage to be a curmudgeon, I think. And not everybody can do it well. Most slide over into simply being boorish. And that doesn't help anybody. Antipathy ~ from antipathēs ~ of opposite feelings. There must be pathos in there somewhere, too. Yes, this sonnet ends with a couplet to remember.

Barrett Bonden said...

RW (zS): It was my impression that "curmudgeon" is usually a semi-affectionate term. However the dictionary does not confirm this: "A crusty, ill-tempered or miserly person esp an old man." At least they got the last bit right. Thank you for your generous comments. As to the couplet I hoped (and so it has turned out) that my use of a four-hundred-year-old cliché would be acknowledged as carrying invisible quotation marks, though this is always a dangerous practice.

Avus said...

Definitely a presence of doublet and hose, pointed beard, pearl ear pendant and sword begirt, BB. Best yet,for me.
Although a poor poet myself, I enjoy the sonnet form with its disciplines and final twin-line rhymes. Edna St Vincent Millay's are my all time favourites.

Rouchswalwe said...

A curmudgeon is most definitely used in an affectionate sense. You've reminded me that dictionaries give the cold definition and do not indicate usage. Longman publishes a fine "Contemporary Usage Dictionary." I wish I had a copy handy. My Grandmama Gretel used to call me "Schissern," and no matter what the dictionary states (ja! It means what you think it does!), I felt her love each time she said it to me.

Barrett Bonden said...

RW (zS): I took curmudgeon that way; Mrs BB never minces her words. One of the greatest shocks on crossing the Atlantic is to hear folk use the noun "bugger" in an affectionate way, usually about children. I sought to intervene but then retreated: explanation seemed fraught.

The Crow said...

In my neck of the woods, it was 'booger,' more so than 'bugger' but that might have come from a Southerner's mispronunciation of bugger.

Hattie said...

Two words: Glenn Gould.