Twin Chambers Bound

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Dear Maud,

Ever recorded an album? Me either. It was called A Friend of Mine, and its songs opened and shut with an eponymous four-word refrain.

Eh? Let me demonstrate – albeit in varicose verse.

But, first, a warning. Man is weak; to self-indulgence he often succumbs. On those (not so) rare occasions when I falter, Maud, my first mate – princely Queen Jane – invokes an acronym. NSP, she says – no self-pity. Instantly, I am a better man.

Sometimes, though, the incantation fails. Why? Because it is not purification I seek, but self-pity itself – YSP.

So indulge me, Maud, as my song plays out.

A friend of mine
has a brain like a cell and
a heart like twin chambers bound.
He has need fattened by feeding,
hunger that eats its host;
self-loathing love.
Who ever is free, asks he,
from the tightening tangle,
the snarl within.
He was made for this,
that friend of mine.

Phew! Free verse like that takes its toll – if free indeed it be. For Tsetse Eliot would deem it not. ‘No verse is free,’ he declared, ‘for the man who wants to do a good job.’

Alas, Maud, this wantful man is weak.

Speaking of poetry, I once made the mistake of trying to define it.

‘Its lines (I began) are broken and scarce; its size and shape lend it intensity, and its effect owes as much to style as to substance. Reading a poem is more a sensual than sensible experience; in short, it is a way of feeling words.’

How poetic!

Happily, Britannica does better: ‘Poetry is the way it is because it looks that way, and it looks that way because it sounds that way and vice versa.’

Dizziness compels me to close.

Yours etc.