You Heard It Here Last

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coffeedodger
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You Heard It Here Last

Post by coffeedodger » Fri Jul 02, 2010 7:47 pm

'Where I am not understood, it shall be concluded that something
very useful and profound is couched underneath'
. Jonathan Swift.


You Heard It Here Last

William Shakespeare has died on his birthday,
punched offstage by the fist of Saint George.
That would make a good plot for a play
but sonnets and songs, the lock and the stock
have bludgeoned his brain with a writer's block
in which death has effected the cause.

Pepys is delighted there's so much to say
about fire and plague and the wealth they can bring.
It's just as well that the bard's gone away
because the globe is alight with so much to excite
a nation impassioned by fresh battles to fight.
No stage can portray such sincere politicking.

Enlightenment follows this sinister day,
new ideals and ideas chase words into books.
Revolution unleashes the will to betray
as Parliament fumbles, we've shifted past Swift,
France pours itself down a cavernous rift
and Saint George is confusing his lance with a hook.

In other news it is Thursday.
A steam hammer pounds in the crippling mill,
Arkwright's thumbs lift to self-righteous display.
While children in chains list in the grist,
revolving his spools with a withering wrist,
their parents bend to the bawl of God's will.

Now the sons of their sons and their sons start to pray
as the Kaiser bends metal to gun pipe and wire
barbed as the crown which the Tsar lost today.
Buried in bullets of mud and hot blood,
twisting fresh history from the narrowing good,
until a resurgent dragon compresses their fire.

And so it goes on as the years run away
and Henry The Fifth falls off his horse,
caught unawares by the tricks we replay,
he attempts to remount but dies as he tries.
Now covered in soundbites and journalists' lies
we're the cast of a film starring Shakespeare's corpse.

clarabow
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Re: You Heard It Here Last

Post by clarabow » Fri Jul 02, 2010 9:25 pm

You seem to be covering quite a few centuries in this! There is much here that made me read on, and I felt I was reading something quite original, a couple of cliches accepted. You have certainly got into the rhyme but I think it needs meter to compliment it, the two usually go together. That would take some time but I think would be worth the effort; meanwhile just some suggestions to impose or ignore. (delete) I think the last stanza is my favourite and the sudden turn is handled very well in - In other news... and I like this stanza too. The first stanza also works well, the next two speed along. All is all I enjoyed this and I wonder how much writing you have done as this seems quite polished? (bold = stressed syllable but you really want the main words to be stressed rather than the or and if you go down the meter route)


William Shakespeare (has) died on his birthday,
punched offstage by the fist of Saint George.
That would make a good plot for a play
but sonnets and songs, the lock and (the) stock
have bludgeoned his brain with (a) writer's block
in which death has effected the cause.

Pepys is delighted there's so much to say
about fire and plague and the wealth they (can) bring.
It's just as well (that) the bard's gone away
because the globe is alight with so much to excite
a nation impassioned by fresh battles to fight. -
No stage can portray such sincere politicking.

Enlightenment follows this sinister day,
new ideals and ideas chase words into books.
Revolution unleashes the will to betray
as Parliament fumbles, we've shifted past Swift,
France pours itself down a cavernous rift
and Saint George is confusing his lance with a hook.

In other news it is Thursday.
A steam hammer pounds in the crippling mill,
Arkwright's thumbs lift to self-righteous display.
While children in chains list in the grist,
revolving his spools with a withering wrist,
their parents bend to the bawl of God's will.

Now the sons of their sons and their sons start to pray
as the Kaiser bends metal to gun pipe and wire
barbed as the crown which the Tsar lost today.
Buried in bullets of mud and hot blood,
twisting fresh history from the narrowing good,
until a resurgent dragon compresses their fire.

And so it goes on as the years run away
and Henry The Fifth falls off his horse,
caught unawares by the tricks we replay,
he attempts to remount but dies as he tries.
Now covered in soundbites and journalists' lies
we're the cast of a film starring Shakespeare's corpse.

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Danté
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Re: You Heard It Here Last

Post by Danté » Sat Jul 03, 2010 8:10 am

I enjoyed reading this, it's not the kind of subject I'd seek out on a Sunday afternoon but I thought you made it very accessible with the writing style you've used.
It's obviously a time consuming form to work with and I think Clara's suggestion in respect of meter is probably a way forward if you are considering spending a significant amount of time polishing this. My only real concern is that a revision which becomes stuffed with fillers to enable the metrical aspect of the poem to become consistent would likely weaken the piece. Doing it well looks like a grand task, so all the best with that if you decide to go down that path.

thank you

Danté
to anticipate touching what is unseen seems far more interesting than seeing what the hand can not touch

David
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Re: You Heard It Here Last

Post by David » Sun Jul 04, 2010 7:46 pm

Great fun, cd. I enjoyed this a lot, although your line lengths seem a bit erratic (I think that's the same point that Clara is making).

He did die on his birthday, didn't he? Which is also St. George's Day. And after (if I remember correctly) an unaccustomed carouse in Stratford with Ben Jonson and Michael Drayton.

Then you're off on a far-ranging romp through the centuries. I see you come full circle at the end, but I can't quite work out how close you've remained to him in between.

Exactly my cup of tea. Or coffee, if you insist.

Cheers

David

coffeedodger
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Re: You Heard It Here Last

Post by coffeedodger » Tue Jul 06, 2010 1:24 am

Thanks for the replies. I live within a few stone throws of the Bard's home. He did indeed die on his birthday and the English patron saint's day, which seems wonderfully apt. That's what set me off on that semi-journalistic romp.....anyway, the comments are fair enough and express my dilemma. The meter, the rhyme and the content require compromises whichever way I go about tinkering with it. I don't want to add words purely for the sake of meter if they add nothing to the story and I don't want to sacrifice context or meaning for the sake of meter either by removing words that are there for a reason e.g. Shakespeare has died on his birthday puts it in the present tense, which is what i want in order to maintain the journalistic feel throughout. Taking out the 'has' might improve the meter but isn't worth the cost.

I think a starting point might be to re-think the punctuation rather than try too hard to contrive meter but sacrifice meaning or rhyme. It's quite a complex rhyme scheme as it is so I can't do a lot with that either, but there are a few places I have put full stops which halt the rhythm and flow in their tracks and the momentum is lost briefly. Some of those could become commas and maybe the meter won't seem so clunky.

It comes full circle because there is nothing new in the world. Human behaviour and attitudes don't radically alter. Satire wasn't confined to Swift's era, no matter how many futile wars mankind engages in the next generation always believes their wars are just and winnable despite history proving otherwise, there are always people who will exploit tragedy such as Pepys who made a fortune out of the great fire of London and so on. Shakespeare portrayed many battles in his plays as well as comedies and tragedies....The stuff of life and death still gets reported, re-enacted and parodied with whatever bias seems appropriate to the propaganda machine behind it. All this is little changed in 400 years.

Anyway, I'm glad a few of you think it is ok and I will now go away and try and polish it with a vaseline impregnated rag.

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