Thursday, 30 April 2015

Poetic Cacophony at its best

My stick fingers click with a snicker
And, chuckling, they knuckle the keys;
Light-footed, my steel feelers flicker
And pluck from these keys melodies.

Player Piano by John Updike

Cacophony: A discordant series of harsh sounds that help to convey disorder. Enhanced by the combined effect of the meaning and the difficulty of pronunciation.

Why not try it?

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Poem - When You Are Old by W.B.Yeats

Continuing the love theme that I introduced into my blog earlier this week  -

Maud Gonne
When You Are Old

W. B. Yeats, 1865 - 1939

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

Yeats was born in Dublin, the son of the well-known Irish painter John Butler Yeats. He initially intended to follow in the footsteps of his father but came to prefer poetry. He became deeply involved in Irish politics, was a strong advocate for independence from England, and at the forefront of the Celtic Revival. The great love of his life was the Irish revolutionary Maud Gonne, equally famous for her intense nationalist politics and her beauty. She was a strong influence on Yeats’ poetry but in 1903 married another man. Yeats eventually married another woman in 1917. The marriage lasted until his death in 1939.
       Yeats was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Poem - Woman's Constancy by John Donne

Continuing yesterday's theme of poems dedicated to women, here is one in a different vein. I think it's a good example of 16th-17th cultural perceptions of women. At the time that Donne was writing England was a patriarchal society in which women were regarded as dangerous, irrational and fickle creatures who had to be kept on a tight leash. Hence a woman was the property of her father until she was married off, after which she became the property of her husband. Similar attitudes prevail today in some parts of the world.

This poem is written in sonnet form -very popular at the time. I think it could equally apply to men, though the title is Woman's Constancy.

Now thou hast loved me one whole day,
Portrait of John Donne as a young man circa 1595
Tomorrow when thou leav'st, what wilt thou say?
Wilt thou then antedate some new-made vow?
    Or say that now
We are not just those persons which we were?
Or, that oaths made in reverential fear
Of love, and his wrath, any may forswear?
Or, as true deaths, true marriages untie,
So lovers' contracts, images of those,
Bind but till sleep, death's image, them unloose?
    Or your own end to justify,
For having purposed change, and falsehood, you
Can have no way but falsehood to be true?
Vain lunatic, against these 'scapes I could
    Dispute, and conquer, if I would,
    Which I abstain to do,
For by tomorrow, I may think so too. 

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Beware of Plagiarism

Plagiarism gets people thrown out of college. Writers sometimes finds themselves in court if they publish the original work of someone else under their own name and it's much easier to detect nowadays - there are a number of online checkers available. Here's a link to one of them 

To try it out simply copy and paste a section of text. The software will perform an internet search for matches.