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, 17 July 2010

Steffie needs a sonnet

Four-square quatrains and a sonnet: An imaginary meeting with Stephanie Flanders

Giovanni through an open door
Drew her inside. I noticed, sought
To halt the disc but not before
She shook her head, her interest caught

Zerlina wrestles with The Don
As I restrained an active eye
Sensing that head of chic aplomb,
Those legs’ supreme authority.

Detached she sat, her thoughts beyond
The fate of Mozart’s heroines
Beyond the power of any bond
That lacked her expert disciplines.

The Don in Hell, she smiled at me,
And asked if sonnets could contain
The dullness of technicity
The theory of the sheer arcane.

“Of course,” I cockily replied.
“Then write me one about my trade,
And add the elegance denied
Me, sporting on the news parade.”

XXXX

Your brief surf-rides a global turbulence
Its chaos balanced by conflicting flow
Of interest, labour, monetary suspense,
The oscillations of the quid pro quo.
Uneasy in its equilibrium
This particle desires a steady state
A transfer from extreme to tedium
From procreate to quieter celibate.
But you and I and banks and presidents
And storms and droughts and maladies combine
To tilt the axis with our discontents
And crack the crystal’s talent to divine.
The figures rise and fall in your report
The past explained, the future chance’s sport

NOTE: 1. Plutarch lent me The Anthologist a novel by Nicholson Baker. A vestigial plot encircles a vivacious primer on how to write poetry. Baker disputes that iambic pentameter is the natural heart of poetic English and offers instead the four-feet line. I tried him out (see above) but found four feet restrictive and rumpty-tum. Hence the reversion.
2. Stephanie Flanders is the BBC’s economics editor. She knows her stuff, seems to be about seven feet tall and wears mini-skirts. She was also the source of a personal epiphany for me. After writing a passage in my novel about a woman having her hairstyle changed (with help from commenters) I discovered that Stephanie’s hair is coloured exactly the way I envisaged. This left me slightly breathless.

6 comments:

Rouchswalwe said...

Hmm, I read them twice and find that I like the combined effect of the request made in 4-feet and the picture then painted in iambic pentameter.

The Crow said...

Bravo, bravo! Well done, BB; good stuff:

Giovanni through the open door drew her inside

...as I restrained an active eye

and both stanzas from "The Don in Hell,..."

But the cherry on top is the sonnet you wrote for her, close to a love poem, certainly. My favorite part is:

"But you and I and banks and presidents
And storms and droughts and maladies combine
To tilt the axis with our discontents
And crack the crystal’s talent to divine."

Lucky girl(woman, natch), this Stephanie Flanders!

Plutarch said...

"You and I and banks and presidents," caught my eye before I read The Crow's response. She's right. It is a line - neat and all inclusive - which I think I will find myself quoting when I want to describe the whirlwind state of flux into which events tend to drag us.

Lucy said...

I'd never even noticed Steffie before, I shall look out for her now! The Anthologist sounds good.

Julia said...

Are you going to send them to Stephanie?

And in another odd coincidence surrounding that famous hair cut I met a hair cutter who spoke eerily like your creation. I had no idea such a person could actually exist!

Barrett Bonden said...

RW (zS): I had no idea whether it worked or not. At the time it seemed like a step too far.

The Crow: Steffie is stunning rather than lovable - admiration is the first emotion that comes to mind. And she has defects: a square-shaped face and a voice that would not be out of place for the captain of the school's lacrosse team. However, since most of what she has to say is intensely depressing it does help if the messenger is worth looking at.

Plutarch: Economics is labelled the gloomy science but I worry about the latter word. Is it provable by repeatable experiments? Not only are we all in it together, we all contribute to its lurches this way and that.

Lucy: Perhaps she's more likely to be noticed by fellas. Just recently she's been in short supply, mainly because the economics news has been somewhat neutral. Would recommend The Anthologist if I didn't think you were technically beyond its guidance. Though Plutarch is an enthusiast.

Julia: Send them? Nah. She knows where I reside.

It was some time before I recognised Steffie's hairdo was what I imagined - the gradations are extremely subtle and the TV studios tend to light her from below rather than above. What struck me was how expensive it looked. My experience of hairstylists (in unisex salons) never threw up anything like Kylie. This is mainly because I envisage her to be employed in a top-class womens salon.