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

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

A tentative take-off

Neither Plutarch nor I could easily remember or pronounce A Stall Recovered the title of my second novel (now finished) so I junked it. Before I embark on the drudgery of sending the MS to agents I’ve been playing with a new title – modified biblical – and here it is on a draft dust jacket.

QUICK DESCENT No hymn starts with such splendour as:

Hark the herald angels sing
Glory to the new-born king;
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled: etc, etc

and then deteriorates into:

Late in time behold him come
(Backward ran the sentences…)
Offspring of the Virgin’s womb;
(A Jack-in-the-box?)
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
(Backward into the butcher’s shop)
Hail the incarnate deity
(More flesh than we need)
Pleased as man with man to dwell,
(Tempted to say “Pleased as Punch…”)

Plus this shocker in the third and final verse:

Risen with healing in his wings.
(Is it bread, or a chicken pie?)

Alas for C. Wesley, author of the above. In my hymn-book the next hymn is Christina Rossetti’s In The Bleak Mid-winter. Nuff said.


Lucy said...

Flesh and wombs do rather abound in these things, don't they? I have wondered, in that sort of half-formed way one does, if 'come' and 'womb' ever did rhyme, and there has been some kind of vowel shift occasioning a parting of the ways, or if it was just Wesley being sloppy.

I love 'In the Bleak Mid-Winter' and find it reason enough to look forward to Christmas all on its own. Though having said that the 'breastful of milk' is getting a bit squirmily close to too much flesh and wombs again ( God I'm such an English protestant at heart), and the subsequent 'manger full of hay' does make the Christ child sound like some kind of hungry ruminant, but I'm more than willing to overlook all that. Especially as CR got passed over as potentially the first woman Poet Laureate more than 100 years before CAD, in favour of Alfred Austin, who he?

Good luck with the novel. I would like to read it, can I get it on my Kindle like Plutarch did? I haven't got the Kindle yet but it's coming for my birthday.

Barrett Bonden said...

Lucy: It's the poetic insensitivity that astounds me. The very idea of veiling something in flesh is so inappropriate, so sickening. Worse still, I've been aware of these metaphors for sixty years, have even sung them in my choirboy days and it's only now that I've felt it necessary to point out their nature. Familiarity not only breeds contempt but a dulled critical capacity.

A quatrain by CR appears at a sad moment in the novel so there, at the very least, you may find yourself in tune with it.

earlybird said...

Very appropriate post as Christmas hurtles towards us. Although I too enjoy 'In the Bleak Mid Winter'.

I've always wondered about the 'Godhead' being 'veiled in flesh' but always been too lazy to look further into the meaning... (beurck)

Not too many Stirring British Carols here so I get to belt them out Karioke fashion along to my CD of 'Christmas Carols from King's College' in the privacy of my own sitting room. (very expatriate?)

Rouchswalwe said...

BB, now you've got me wondering what all of those German hymns I grew up with really say ...

Barrett Bonden said...

EB: I take it buerck is a phonetic rendering of a technicolour yawn.

Carols in living room. Try the kitchen. Ours has a fabulous acoustic; when I come down to prepare my brunch after a morning's scribing I automatically burst in song. Did You not Hear My Lady? or Tom Bowling have been my defaults for over two months now.

RW (zS): Easily misled.