Monday, April 6, 2009

Three small poems in two days, and here I was thinking I'd never write anything short again. But I still can't figure out what influences a shift in genre: why at some times I can only write prose, at other times only poems. And now I'm noting this shift in subgenre, from long narrative to short lyric. As far as I can tell, I'm reading the same sorts of things--novels and poetry, with a few signs and advertisements sucked in along the way. Nobody has made any suggestions to me about style or substance. Merely my brain has changed gears. Or perhaps lyric poems are a sign of spring.

Here's a poem that is full of repetition; and since my days are full of patterns, and the rain, too, repeats and repeats, I will copy it down for you, and perhaps it will drive you crazy, or perhaps you will like it.

Poem 160 from the Devonshire Manuscript

Sir Thomas Wyatt

I abide and abide and better abide,
          And after the olde prouerbe, the happie daye;
          And ever my ladye to me dothe saye:
          "Let me alone and I will prouyde."
I abide and abide and tarrye the tide,
         And with abiding spede well ye maye:
         Thus do I abide I wott allwaye,
         Nother obtayning nor yet denied.
Aye me! this long abidying
          Semithe to me as who sayethe
          A prolonging of a dieng dethe
Or a refusing of a desyred thing.
          Moche ware it bettre for to be playne
          Then to saye "abide" and yet shall not obtayne.

Dinner tonight: casserole-roasted pork, first dry-marinated in sage, salt, and green peppercorns; spoonbread; cucumber salad; plum flan.

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