I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Approval that came too late

I usually avoid posts which preen. There's more mileage in prat-falls and self-inflicted idiocy. Halos encourage solemnity and I seek not to be po-faced. However...

A youth in a fairly tough school was faced with responding to six love poems, then picking one which best summarised his own feelings "Does it have to be one of the six?" he asked. "Can I choose one from elsewhere?" This was allowed.

Marking the essay the English teacher said she didn't recognise the author of the seventh poem. Gave the essay an A*.

You can see where this is leading. Elder daughter, Professional Bleeder, teaches science in the same school. She printed out a sonnet from a familiar blog deliberately omitting the author's name, showed it to the lad who approved and who used it in his essay. Ironically the sonnet's author has never been marked A* (or A-plus, A, A-minus, etc)  for anything. The moderator's comments are awaited with interest.

The lad was 15 yet the sonnet pragmatically surveys the love resident in a fiftieth wedding anniversary. No lovey-dovey, no trains entering tunnels. If you decide to CLICK try the Alan Bennett sound-alike doing the reading.

WIP Second Hand (28,869 words)
SUPERMARKET work, expected to be a treadmill, turned out to be surprise. (Francine) was prepared to accept unattractive shifts and found herself almost alone at her till in the small hours, reading Dickens novels surreptitiously or acting as a conversational butt to lonesome people seeking a two-way exchange that all-night television could not furnish. (Another) unexpected pleasure (included) dozing through the noise of morning traffic.


  1. With my vast knowledge of Eng Lit, given the clues, it didn't take me long to guess the author, before clicking. Congratulations. A deserved reward. My next novel or pehaps I should say short story is to be entitled The Seventh Sonnet.

  2. Having clicked I have to click again to say how well, how really well you read the poem. Alan Bennett could learn a thing or two.

  3. Excellent! And very well read too, with a proper BBC/Oxbridge intonation. So you were once BB as well as RR? Or are you still both?

    Very curious to hear what the moderator said about the sonnet. When I started reading this post, I thought that you were going to reveal that the schoolboy was you and that you had cleverly managed to anonymously introduce your own creation into the school assignment. But the real story is even better.

  4. Joe: There is a coda. PB, who is visiting, tells me the lad has taken to accessing Tone Deaf regularly and says he prefers the verse posts. I feel heart-slufted that I am not able to meet his preferences more often.

    I hadn't realised at the time the Bennettish-prissiness. However when I arrived at "But... and there's always a but...." the resemblance was inescapable.

    Natalie: I was BB until November 29 2011 when I closed down (for all of 24 hours) having disturbed one of several of my links once too often. BB trading under Works Well started out devoted to technology/science and then broadened into a moderately gratifying success. Assuming the name Lorenzo da Ponte I started up Tone Deaf which covered music, from posh to pop. This proved to be self-flagellatory and the support fell away somewhat; the ironic reason being that I, never having had a musical lesson in my life, was frequently reckoned to be too technical. By then novel-writing had started to dominate my life and Tone Deaf was broadened to reflect this.

    In the early days of Works Well both Joe Hyam and Lucy were writing and posting quite a lot of poetry and I decided to get in on the act - an ill-judged decision given that I hardly ever read poetry and knew nothing about the techniques. Brazenly I asked Julia (aka The Prague Polymath) to give me a lesson and the result was my only example of vers libre. Thereafter, with the exception of a villanelle, tutored by Joe, everything I've done has been has been in Shakespearean sonnet form or conventional ABAB quatrains despite mild urging that I have another go at free form (Can't do it; I need the straitjacket.) I've done thirty-forty pieces and only three have stood the test - you've now read two of them.

    I think your first guess about the provenance of this sonnet is much the better. The only drawback being that at school I knew even less about poetry and would have thought it "cissy". I'm pleased you like this sonnet since, as you can see, I leave my wife and myself quite exposed in it.

  5. RR, thanks for the background. I regret coming into this circle so late. I think I would have enjoyed your posh-to-pop musical posts, although I'm very far from being an expert in either genre. I'm of the biased 'I know what I like' brigade.
    I hate to admit that I'm almost completely ignorant of the technical aspects of poetry (allright, cross out 'almost') so I think it was admirable of you to ask for lessons and to have a go. If there was only world enough and time I might do the same and also pursued piano lessons and taken a degree in physics, astronomy, philosophy, ballroom dancing, juggling and surfing. Unfortunately I have to concentrate on what I actually can do quite well.

  6. Natalie: I wasn't a musical expert either but after a month or two I read plausibly. I was especially proud of my analysis of pop - having first asked acquaintances to provide the titles of pieces they admired and then writing pieces that were as serious as if I were responding to the Gregorian Chant.

    Poetry. Even more remarkable that Julia with two kids and a husband to sustain, and a business to run, was able to provide the tuition.

    "world enough and time". Plenty of both with stand-up comedy and Aramaic translation thrown in.

  7. A splendid poem, brimming with love, and well read....so interesting to hear your voice. Just the title, coupled with the knowledge that it's an anniversary poem, conjures such a beautiful and moving image. Interesting too that Works Well began as a tech and science blog. I will have to search it to see if you were ever caught up in two of my latest fascinations, the Wankel rotary and the frightening mechanics of helicopter rotors.