Saturday, November 14, 2009

Poetic Combat: My Response

As I have clearly stated, I do not take iambic pentameter lightly - much less a full blow Petrarchan sonnet.

Accordingly, I have responded:

A Sharp Remark Upon Petrarch
A Certain Sunday Sonnet

I found your sonnet to be taxin’
For I prefer the Anglo-Saxon.
Though some would think it quite a lark
To take a spin with old Petrarch.
But that’s not how I talk.

Though some may find it very nice
To measure words, thereby to spice
Into some precious verbal quince
A dainty potion for some prince.
But is that how they talk?

It might be fine in old Italian
To marshal words in some battalion
To parade with words as smooth as satin
In handy, dandy, demi-Latin.
Perhaps that’s how they talked.

But let me show you what I mean.
“Giuseppe Verdi” translates: “Joe Green.”
Our poems, sir, are out to lunch
Unless they smack a certain punch.
For that is how we talk.

From Beowulf to Mother Goose
Our words are tart; our manner loose.
To mince with words – That’s far too pallid.
Instead, let’s have a Border Ballad.
For that’s how we should talk.


  1. Have you read Christopher Logue's re-interpretation of Homer? I think you'd like it.

  2. No I haven't.

    Nikos Kazantzakis, author of Zorba the Greek, wrote a sequel to the Odyssey, which is highly regarded but which I have yet to read.

    I am very interested in the topic of Oral Tradition, the basis upon which Homer, Beowulf, and other poems were composed and have an list on the subject.

  3. I hadn't heard of the Kazantzakis book but I think I'll have to hunt it down. As for your Amazon lists- I've used them regularly, especially the Elizabethan ones. They're an excellent resource.