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.
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Thursday, 3 July 2014

Sartorial notes: part XXIV

At Dennis's funeral (qv) I felt elevated. To go with my only formal suit I wore my black shoes and they have heels. I teetered like a lady of the night.

My black shoes are at least twenty-five years old and cost a horrifying £45. I swore I would get full value at that price and so it is proving. The question is should I be cremated in them; since I hate my formal suit this seems unlikely. The shoes have been re-soled.

Since I retired I've worn heelless trainers. But fatness dictated a change of plan since I struggled tying the laces. Velcro seemed the answer and readers of Works Well (which preceded Tone Deaf) were full of reassurances. However they failed to mention a serious snag. As I slip my feet into the shoes, the Velcro is free to flap and attaches itself to other parts of the shoe's suede upper. More trouble for the fat man.

After a year on the five/two diet I have lost two stones (= 28 lb). En route from Tesco, my morning shadow seemed elegantly lithe. I am encouraged. As a flaneur (look it up) shabby shoes become me and laces are no longer a problem. My disintegrating trainers will do.

JOE'S NUDGE


Can this be poetry? It's included in The Poet's Tongue and therefore has Auden's and Garrett's approval.

One cannot help think
how much better it would have been
if Vronsky and Anna Karenin
had stood up for themselves, and seen
Russia across her crisis,
instead of leaving it to Lenin.


Aimed at literary snobs. But we all know who Vronsky was, don't we? Even without the give-away. "Across" adds a necessary syllable; should be "through". Clumsy.

D. H. Lawrence

11 comments:

mike M said...

The consonance of "across her crisis" seems like the only poetic trace. Short, sorry. Off to work.

The Crow said...

"Across her crisis" caught my ear, as well. It might be the one thing I found good in it.

Yeah, it is.

Roderick Robinson said...

Crow/MikeM: You may both be right but if so Lawrence was lucky. And I tend to discount luck in poetry. There is a technical word for what I need to say, but the fact is he needed two syllables at that point to balance the line where the logical, English option would have been "through". I've struggled to balance lots of lines and my eyes were drawn to that word and for that reason. Of course, he may have constructed the line in a way that left him wanting two syllables there, having seen the poetic potential of "across" as you both have.

But, as the Scots say, I ha' me doots. The remainder of the verse doesn't support such forethought. It seems scrappy and rushed, not much planning and not much self-evident revision.

But God forbid that I should say I'm right.

The Crow said...

Robbie, I don't know if you are right about "across her crisis" or not. Whether carefully chosen for poetic value or to make the syllable count he needed, Lawrence chose them well, to my thinking. But, if you mean that the rest of it reads rushed, slapped together, make-work-ish, we're on the same page. That's what I meant when I wrote, “It might be the one thing I found good in it. Yeah, it is.”

What I find pleasing in the two words (across and crisis) are the "cr" sound (which is probably why I like the word 'crow' so much) followed by the hissing "s". Saying/thinking the phrase has a rocking or swinging motion; dip and sway, rise and fall. I like the way they sound when I speak them, but even more when I merely think them. My brain shimmies in pleasure.

(And what is with your need to be [seen as] right all the time? Why does it matter? Especially in questions of opinion? A little of that goes a long way; an excess maligns your character.)

Stella said...

Imagine my delight! What a scamp you are!

I have forgotten any rules of poetry, if I ever knew any. Two syllables just sounds correct to the ear, and that is what I rely on. What did he mean, though? They should have joined the army?

Rouchswalwe said...

As a flâneuse, I believe in re-soling and avoiding velcro by taking off a stone or two.

mike M said...

It's a rhythmic nightmare. Not worth dissecting.

Roderick Robinson said...

Crow: Good stuff. There is, of course, far more to poetry than correct rhymes and lines that scan. Often the response is visceral, as in your case, and it's enough to point it out. It's my bad luck that I reacted differently in seeing what I took to be a technical fault.

Malign my character? Wasn't I saying exactly the opposite? My purpose with Joe's Nudge is to encourage the sort of dialogue that would have tempted Joe to join in. To hope, in fact, that he is joining in.

In my comments following the previous Joe's Nudge I admitted, as I've admitted before, that I carry poetry L-plates. A reference to the UK system for probationary driver's licence: the novice driver attaches red L-plates front and rear to his car and must always be accompanied by a qualified driver. But to get things started in the post I have to throw out a few opinions.

Stella: A scamp, forsooth. I'm back in short pants wearing the school tie. You're right: at that point in that line two syllables were required and Lawrence supplied them. My suggestion, which others are quite legitimately disputing, is that Lawrence chose carelessly; unable to use the appropriate single-syllable "through" he picked a somewhat off-key two-syllable "across". Crow is saying "across" has other benefits and I accept her view.

RW (sZ): And wearing a smart circumflex accent. You're a credit to Tone Deaf.

MikeM: You make it sound as if we're talking about a scored brake disc. A grumpy, dismissive tone. You claim to be an avid Yeatsian, suggesting you know what's what when it comes to poetry. Why not use Yeats as a criterion here. Dissection of bad poetry can be instructive.

I'd ask you to recommend what extracts I should include in Joe's Nudge if that wasn't entirely contrary to the principles I'm applying: in my source book The Poet's Tongue the poems are deliberately set out anonymously. Provided the reader doesn't immediately recognise the poem (as I admitted last time with the passage from Ecclesiastes) he or she can react without prejudice. Only after I've reacted and written my no-doubt half-cocked opinion do I turn to the index and identify the poet.

The spirit of 1776 may encourage you to imagine I'm lying about this. I'm not. But you may further say in the immortal words of call-girl Mandy Rice-Davies commenting on the UK's spiciest political scandal: "He would say that, wouldn't he?"

Hey, even if I am lying I give great value with my re-comments. Agreed?

mike M said...

It never once crossed my mind that you would "cheat". Okay, I'll look at it again: It seems to me it's a couple or three sentences "One cannot help but think how much better it would have been, Vronsky and Anna standing up for themselves. Seeing Russia through her crisis instead of leaving it to Lenin." The sentences are barely abbreviated into verse, the lines are chopped to align "been" and "seen", and "across" is added for a consonant effect (I can't fathom the thinking that an extra syllable was needed here), leaving a flood of consonance in the last two lines ("leaving it to Lenin" rings too). I'm hearing the assonance between "leaving" "been" and "seen" now, and I guess that's redemptive. It seems grossly unbalanced though, one line separating the been/seen rhyme, two lines separating the Karenin/Lenin rhyme. "Think" and "crisis" stand alone. It all has the feel of some notes scribbled in an attempt to assemble a limerick. How about:


One can't help but think
what if Count and Karenin
had stood up themselves
and not left it to Lenin?

Yeatsian? That's tougher. I suspect it would be longer,smoother, far more evocative, more universal, with more internal rhyming, and it would be more abstract. Perhaps Russia as "Mother", Anna as "used bride" (three syllables there).


No hard feelings about the 1776 revolution. I don't much like fireworks. And, as I've said, you're an all rounder when it comes to value.

Roderick Robinson said...

MikeM: That's a lot better. Though I'm really not entitled to expect any form of response I was, for a moment, somewhat disappointed. Poetry is of course a springboard, even bad poetry, even a bad post; a comment that appears to brush a topic away hardly needs posting. But in any case you've proved me wrong and I'm grateful.

Just to straighten out this thing about the fifth line: as I saw it the rhythm, such as it is, starts with a two-syllable word (Russia) and demands a two-syllable word to follow. It gets it with "across". However the literal sense of the line cries out for a synonym of "through" and for me "across" isn't it. True "across" is more poetic in this context (if that means anything) but, as you point out, this is a distinctly unpoetic poem. It may as you say be simply prose chopped up. My immediate reaction was that Lawrence had allowed the sense to become subordinate to the rhythm and chucked in an imprecise word. In fact two-syllable "beyond" would have worked. It just seemed careless.

But let's leave it at that. There is one other matter, notably the old patronymic thing that bedevils Western readers of Russian novels. The title of the book is Anna Karenina; I'm not sure what subtracting the final vowel does grammatically to her surname (other than thyme with Lenin, of course) and whether it's legitimate. But it may prevent subsequent tinkering with Vronsky.

Something more worthy of your forensic skills next time.

mike M said...

The Karenina shortening baffled me...even more when I found out Anna's Husband's name was Karenin and that Karenina is(?) a gender specific surname.