As snow angles past my window, I return to what I do, if not best, then at least fairly often: a bit of juxtaposing. Today’s title brings Peter Høeg and Bohemian Rhapsody together in unlikely conjunction to comment on the unwanted blanket of white which is covering much of the UK.
With much work and travel (and many) gigs suspended, we find ourselves in an odd, liminal time. Trapped – or holed up – in places we did not intend and with our plans in disarray. I feel I should be making the most of this time, detached from the normal flow – a sort of temporal ox-bow lake – but, instead, find myself writing a blog post. It would seem that old habits – like vampire counts – die hard!
I was tempted to do some baking, if only for the boost in warmth, but have initially returned to an earlier project. Given that the form of the sestina is quite the challenge, I have looked to the world of running for clues as to a training regimen. I believe that before people tackle a full marathon, they will often attempt to test their mettle over shorter distances: a 5K or 10K perhaps or a half-marathon. I feel I need to loosen up my tight metaphors and toughen up my imagery before I tackle the big one. I wonder if I should also be looking for sponsorship? Should I be versifying in fancy dress?
I have discovered that there is an analogue for the half-marathon available to the sestina wannabe. Some wise (or lazy) troubadour of old devised the tritina with a mere three tercets and a one line envoy: half the workload of the full sestina and as a result a more tractable form for a chap still in his poetical novitiate. The other piece of good news (for me, not you!) with both the tritina, and its bigger sister, is that puns and wordplay are not so much permitted as encouraged!
I have taken as my subject the current weather: adhering to both the ‘say what you see’ school of poesy (or was that Catchphrase? Do I mean ‘write what you know’?) and the national stereotype: below are my neophytic fumblings:
St David should bring promise of fresh warmth
As fecund spring brings colour to our lives:
Instead, an Eastern beast delivers snow.
Transport fails: each traveller cries no!
Trapped far from longed-for hearth and homely warmth.
Cold hexagons care not for ruined lives!
Boreas’ spite proves that he yet lives
As sixty-three is echoed in the snow:
Resurgent winter holds back vernal warmth.
Yet, warmth still lives to triumph over snow.
Just savour that 123, 312, 231 patterning: all that time studying group theory was not spent in vain! I’ve even stuck in a classical allusion for you to enjoy! You will also notice that I have stuck with the decasyllabic form: very much based on the number of fingers I have available for counting (using the most basic method possible). I somehow don’t imagine the Bard of Avon madly enumerating using his digits as he was pulling together Hamlet – or it would have had a much shorter running time!
Until warmth returns victorious (for a little while), keep yourselves warm and safe and try to find enjoyment, becalmed in this oxbow lake of time!