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.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Welcome to the verse workshop


For offline reasons, I’ve agreed to do a sonnet about music. I’m no great shakes at verse, mostly I treat it as a sort of crossword and I’m even worse at those. But I am wedded to the value of revision. I thought it might be of interest to show revision at work. Proving to me at least that however terrible the most recent version turns out, worse previously existed.

Sonnet
Solomon - British pianist.
Born 1902.
Suffered stroke 1956.
Died 1988









First draft
He breathed on slow parts, made them his alone.
Thus in the one-oh-nine, Gesangvoll spilt
Its gift on me and forced me to disown
A taste for speed. In time I was rebuilt.

That pulse, though stretched, retained organic life,
I breathed his breath in synchronicity,
And heard in rests the dying sound of strife
Succumbing to chromatic majesty.

Lento, King of Kings, became an irony.
When malady applied its cruel brake,
Control gave way to immobility
And whist for thirty years to stay awake.

That golden patience, that felicity:
Comfort or curse in his adversity?

Now re-edited
Slowness adds grace to force. He taught me why
That intricate sonata, one-oh-nine,
Part-named Gesangvoll, might help reduce my
Taste for speed and open up the grand design.

His pulsing chords, the very beat of life,
Were linkages in synchronicity.
I heard the rests in contrapuntal strife
Surrender to chromatic majesty.

The King of Kings, now butt of irony,
Lento halted by an inner brake,
Control replaced by immobility
With whist for thirty years to stay awake.

That golden patience, that felicity:
Comfort or curse in his adversity?

4 comments:

Natalie D'Arbeloff said...

I'm no judge of poetry and can't even claim to practice the art myself (apart from non-sequitur gushes in adrenelinated times) but in my unqualified opinion, your first version is far superior. It has a rhythm and music which the second one lacks - too much explanation, too much like a lesson. Bravo for the first one.

By the way, since I'm managing to comment fairly faithfully here, I expect a bit of reciprocity!

Roderick Robinson said...

Natalie: Your choice is up to you; I'm pleased you found anything worthwhile in the First Draft. But for me I edited the First Draft because I found it defective (grammatically, syntactically, emotionally, aesthetically). Your suggestion that I took a step backwards in doing this is instructive. Proof that when verse is read by someone else, the very act of reading makes that experience (and consequently that "version" of the verse) the property of the reader rather than the author. As a Johnny-come-lately to verse, unaware of most of the techniques and impulses, this is perhaps the only reason I persist.

Beth said...

You shame me. Not only a completed sonnet, but now a major revision!I like both, for different reasons, but bow to your desire and reasons for revising the first.

Roderick Robinson said...

Beth: Please, please. There are a dozen reasons - good reasons, reasons I envy - why you might not be able to spit out verse the way I do, as a telly spits out commercials. In any case there's a dark side to my so-called fecundity which I shall be explaining shortly. The rules allow two months; take four or six.