My attempts at verse have encouraged both Plutarch and Lucy to send me books of and about poetry, adding several cubits to my metric stature. Soon I may qualify as a poetaster (“a contemptuous name often applied to bad or inferior poets”). Peter Porter’s collected poems, from Lucy, comes with a recommendation to read pages 301- 302 which include nine short poems about opera.
Since Mrs LdP and I failed to return to the second act of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor transmitted from the Met a few months ago, you can imagine my delight at these lines from Porter’s Lucia In The Sky With Diamonds:
Her lover, equipped by the Scottish
Tourist Board, is going to bring
Italian opera into church…
…extols a carnal love
or sepulchre of kisses wearing kilts.
The same contrivances evading death
honour a tone-deaf poet’s end.
I’ve never been tempted to attend La Scala and this two-liner may explain why:
Taught to suck from capitalist sores their venom,
Marxist First Nighters dress in well-cut denim.
And, despite what I recently posted about Wagner, publishing these lines shows I too have misgivings about modernised opera:
With that “dumme Knab” Siegfried around
Fafner had to be a sluggish dragon,
Wotan a quenchless ancient
And Brűnnhilde in the Red Brigades.
MY OTHER SELF As if walking through a graveyard I sought one of the rotting posts in Works Well and was amused to discover that Barrett Bonden, surrounded as he was by trivia, appeared as a more rounded character than LdP. The latter seems like a man obsessed, never a centimetre away from a chromatic scale. It is a distortion, of course. I still cough, fall out with Mrs LdP, puzzle over Amélie Nothomb’s Stupeur et Tremblements and watch Six Nations Rugby.