Friday, 18 January 2013

The self-indulgence of (some) poets

I don't read a lot of poetry, but am deeply fond of many poets.  Keats, Tennyson, Houseman and of course Shakespeare all spring to mind. But some poets....oh dear.

Take Herrick. "Fair daffodils, we weep to see you fade away so soon".

No, we don't. Weep over daffodils, that is. Or most of us don't. The daffodils have died. Get over it. There'll be more next year. Have you nothing better ( or worse) to weep over? (these immortal,lines came to me as I was throwing out some dead ones).

Daffodils seem to bring out the worst in poets. Take Wordsworth, "wandering lonely as a cloud" among his. Many people would give a lot to have the time to wander about among daffodils.
 I bet poor Dorothy didn't. (I have to say that I find that poem particularly irritating.)

But Keats's wonderful "knight at arms, alone and palely loitering". I'm sure he really did have problems.

I'll stop grumbling now. It's all because snow makes me grumpy.

Now I've got to go and borrow a shovel before our sprightly neighbour, who is considerably older than I am but has ten times the energy, gets there first.

14 comments:

  1. I've never seen a lonely cloud. Give me meaningful words such as 'I wish I'd looked after me teeth, And spotted the perils beneath...'
    Thank you Pam Ayres, for getting me to the dentist. You could say that was a poem that moved me.

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    1. Wordsworth certainly won't lead you to the dentist, Lynne!

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  2. Isn't it nice sometimes when you have nowhere to go, to be marooned in your own house with the snow drifting up the drive. We've just watched a few people struggling to drive their cars up the road. Of course if it lasts further than tomorrow, there will be trouble.

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    1. We've reached the skating rink stage, Maggie.

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  3. Amusing as ever, Frances. I do love Keats and Shakespeare and many other poets but I do think some are overblown and over the top!

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    1. It's the wallowing I find hard to take, Rosemary!

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  4. You crack me up. I suppose your tender poetic side must be buried under the snow, so your lack of appreciation for those poor lamented daffodils is understandable.

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    1. My tender poetic side, Susan...Hmmm...
      I'll have to think about that!

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  5. Keats (for whom I have a special affection or, perhaps to be more accurate, for whose poetry I have a special affection) wrote some great poetry (and, yes, I would count La Belle Dame Sans Merci - and Hyperion - amongst them, some average poetry and some ridiculous poetry (see eg A Song About Myself).

    Whilst many people might give a lot to wander as lonely as a cloud or through daffodils many would also give a lot to have the time to read poetry.

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    1. But surely we make time to do the things we really want to do, GB? (But maybe that's why I odn't read enough poetry....)

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  6. I don't cry when the daffodils go over - but I do wish they'd hurry up and come out. The novelty of winter wore off some time ago.

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  7. I really think you should write a poem called 'The daffodils have died. Get over it.' Fabulous realism!

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  8. But it doesn't really scan, does it, Fran? Good idea, though. Maybe I'll launch a daffodil competition...(I did begin a poem at your suggestion, but sadly it contained very rude words and asterisks, and as it's Sunday, I gave up.)

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