Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Poetry Wednesday

By Judith

Although known more for his prose, especially his non-fiction, Hilaire Belloc (1870 - 1953) took great pride and joy in the poetry he produced. He may have been of the same era as the other poets we've looked at, but in his style and philosophy, he was ages away. He felt no need to experiment with form - or no form - as the case may be, instead, excelling in the discipline of creating within a prescribed form, such as sonnet or ballade. Anyone can write free verse; some can make it flow and sing. Fewer still can do the same with a form that demands a certain rhyme or structure.

Belloc had a sharp wit and wrote many satirical verses. Politicians and professors alike would feel the sting of his barbs. Try this one:

Epitaph on the Politician Himself

Here richly, with ridiculous display,
The Politician's corpse was laid away.
While all of his acquaintance sneered and slanged
I wept: for I had longed to see him hanged.

And he looked wryly at himself:

On His Books

When I am dead, I hope it may be said:
"His sins were scarlet, but his books were read."

For the poem of the day, here's a more somber selection from Sonnets of the Twelve Months.


Look, how those steep woods on the mountain's face
Burn, burn against the sunset; now the cold
Invades our very noon; the year's grown old,
Mornings are dark, and evenings come apace.
The vines below have lost their purple grace,
And in Forreze the white wrack backward rolled
Hangs to the hills tempestuous, fold on fold,
And moaning gusts make desolate all the place.

Mine host the month, at thy good hostelry,
Tired limbs I'll stretch and steaming beast I'll tether;
Pile on great logs with Gascon hand and free,
And pour the Gascon stuff that laughs at weather;
Swell your tough lungs, north wind, no whit care we,
Singing old songs and drinking wine together.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Remember: Think Before Commenting.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...