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, 23 January 2010

Confiteor Keatso omnipotenti

Having devised something I regard as clever (My Right Hand) as basis for a non-sonnet poem and irritated it isn’t going satisfactorily I look for an opportunity to be destructive. And here it is. The Guardian is doing booklets on the Romantic Poets, the first on Keats. Let’s look for defects.

Straight off we have the Chapman’s Homer sonnet, world famed. Why don’t I like: “Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.”? Because I feel fealty is a word only poets use. Was it commoner then? I suspect not.

Grumblingly I give him demesne in “Homer ruled as his demesne;” because the fourth meaning in the dictionary is: region or realm. Even so the early definitions to do with land surrounding a manor and landed property have stronger associations which, I feel, may have been even stronger in Keats’ time.

Then there’s Chapman speaking out “loud and bold”. Is there a sufficient distinction between these two adjectives or was he filling out the line? Perish the thought.

“When a new planet swims into his ken;” When did ken become a literary no-no? Before or after Keats?

It’s sad to find stout Cortez staring out “with eagle eyes”. Keats can’t be blamed for creating a phrase which later became a cliché but, come to think of it, was it all that perceptive anyway? What’s next?

Look’d at each other with a wild surmise –
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

Hah! I set out to break a butterfly on the wheel and the butterfly has hit back. Tell you what: I’ll put My Right Hand away for a while and do an iron-clad, rigidly metred sonnet on A Little Learning.

Novel progress 23/1/10. Ch. 12: 3127 words. Chs. 1 - 11: 48,792 words. Comments: A Damascene moment. But should Hatch be re-christened Patch?