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.”


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.