Echoes of Wordsworth.

 

Scorn not the sonnet, because you have frowned,

mindless of just phrases, or some rhyme

you sought for minutes turned out asinine.

Wordsworth writing scratched his head and found

the names of many figures world-renowned

who wrote them, and he gave each line

to favourites. (Keats' "On The Sea" is mine.)

Notice how he picks the names for sound.

See how I waste the first eight lines with tripe?

Now the last six should have a moral

which follows on from them. With this ripe

thought I leave you free to nod or quarrel;

if you have a pallid thought to gild

with verbiage, fourteen lines are quickly filled.

 

*******

 

There was a boy - ye knew him well, ye paths

and roads of Ivanhoe, but not ye cliffs,

for he was chicken-hearted, scared of heights.

Sickly and wan, he lived inside a hut,

hated the sun, which raised his freckles; shy;

he loved the birds and animals, for they,

gentle and timid creatures of the roads,

presented ideal targets for his sling,

or airgun. Years passed, and many a time

at evening when the earliest stars began

to move behind the local paper mills,

he whistled, fingers interwoven, both hands

pressed closely palm to palm and to his mouth

uplifted; and all the wildlife fled with squeals.

And friends would answer him, and they would walk

in friendly solitude along a lonely path,

unless they found a lone pedestrian to bash

and rob, or someone to molest. Or else

they stood and threw rocks with uncertain aim

into the gardens of the local Greeks.

 

This boy was taken from his mates and kept

in prison, ere he was full twelve years old.

Preeminent in beauty is the gaol,

and near the hovel where he grew; the youth

now hangs about a milkbar with his gang.

And when policemen to that bar are led

they question him and hear him swear.

A long half-hour together will he stand

insolent - looking grave the while he lies.