The headache, she persisteth, oy vey. What a bloody waste of a weekend. I shall have to offer you a little more antique verse, while I lie down again and fuss because I find reading even so much as detective fiction quite hard going at the moment.
It is very safe to say that I have spent entirely too much time writing ‘practice’ poems, designed, say, to exercise one’s ability in the teeth of Spenserian stanzas on the set subject ‘It was a dark and stormy night’. But I was technically writing a PhD at the time (don’t ask [Oh, please don't ask - Ed]), so it’s hardly surprising I spent hours and hours on this kind of thing instead.
At night the rain is snapped out by the gale,
A waterlogged white sheet spread through the air
And pinned to grass and sky just like a sail
Whose trailing edge is tethered to my hair.
It pulls me forward, astray, without a care,
A sailing leaf, a fishing-boat, a bark.
Lost under seas of stormy sky I dare
Go home the long way through the roaring dark,
Across the streaming grass, across the tree-bound park.
Above the oaks the air lies two miles deep -
A mass of wind and water roiling by -
And all the darkened houses crouch asleep
Beneath the roaring oceans of the sky.
On watery nights like these we humans lie
Or safe indoors or stray beneath the rain;
A few of us can hear the weatherâ€™s cry
And walk abroad despite the anchor-chain
That lets us run yet brings us safely home again.
At last I went away from the wet trees
Between the rushing walls of rain and light
That streaks the rain. The street-lamps that one sees
Are saffron gate-ways splitting up the night.
They mark me as I come back from my flight
Into the elements to loose my soul
And wash it clean in storm-winds like a kite.
So wet and wild into the house I stole,
Still fierce with gales and oceans, bright-dark night, and whole.
Now, is this a fairly good poem, or an utterly shit poem? We’ve all looked at it for hours, and we can’t quite tell.