Friday, February 15, 2008

Poetry Friday

I was rereading David Lodge's wonderfully funny Small World the other day (partly because I was trying to remember one of the characters' names) and I came upon this poem which I decided to use as my Poetry Friday offering. The poem is by John Keats and titled The Eve of St Agnes. If you care to read this poem in its entirety (it's very long), click here.

Stanza 36

Beyond a mortal man impassioned far
At these voluptuous accents, he arose,
Ethereal, flushed, and like a throbbing star
Seen mid the sapphire heaven's deep repose;
Into her dream he melted, as the rose
Blendeth its odour with the violet--
Solution sweet: meantime the frost-wind blows
Like Love's alarum pattering the sharp sleet
Against the windowpanes; St. Agnes' moon hath set.

And since I am feeling slightly flippant this morning, I am going to leave you with one of Lodge's characters responses to this stanza. His name is Persse McGarrigle, and he is a rather hapless and entirely too earnest young academic. A pigeon among the cats, as it were, in this tale of academia:

"It was all very well for Morris Zapp to insist upon the indeterminacy of literary texts: Persse McGarrigle needed to know whether or not sexual intercourse was taking place here - a question all the more difficult for him to decide because he had no personal experience to draw upon."

(p46, Small World Penguin ed.)

There you go. I suggest you read this book if a) you've had a taste of academia yourself (a little schadenfreude is sometimes a good thing) or b) you like comic novels. Of course, you could always just go and read a lot of Keats and skip the comedy altogether...

Poetry Friday is being hosted by HipWriterMama. Check out her blog - it has links to everyone else participating.


Sara said...

Now you've gone and done it---added another book to my looming TBR pile. But I do love a comic novel, and they're so rare...

Becky at Farm School said...

I love David Lodge. I think it just might be time to reread one or two, and be glad that my only time in academia was as a student!

Kelly Fineman said...

"St. Agnes' moon hath set" sounds a bit dirty to me, but I'm certain that it's out of context. Right? Must look into David Lodge's book, it appears . . .

sheila said...

Sara, I agree, I love a good comic novel.

Becky, I love David Lodge too, and I'm glad I stopped at my MA. I liked translating medieval herbals but I was SO not cut out for the academic life. My dh is in academia and I often joke to him, after a particularly deadly academic party, that there is a reason the sciences get more funding than the humanities.

Kelly, I went through that piece, and I think you might be into something. Later on Porphyro tells Madeline that it was "no dream" and that she is his bride, so maybe there was more than just the melding of like minds...