As you may be aware, if you’ve been following my twitter feed, I’ve recently had a damp catastrophe that’s attacked about 8 years worth of notes. Some of these matter more than others, but given that I’ve been through a number of ‘slimming downs’ on the note front over the years, and these were mostly notes that had been carefully sorted into boxes and files for storage, it’s fair to assume that they contained a lot that’s precious to me, if no one else.
Some of it is no longer relevant. I don’t really need my first year notes on Ethics when I’ve taught it 4 years running. Some of it has great nostalgia value – I can’t really bear to throw out any essay with marks and ticks on it – especially if I did well. And some of it has surprised me, which brings me to the thing that’s vaguely relevant to this blog: I found a sonnet I wrote in 2001.
Context: my undergrad was a joint honours English and Philosophy degree, and one of the things my tutor thought would be fun for us to do to give us a feel for the rigours of a strict poetic form like a sonnet was to get us all to write one. I’m fairly sure that this was a first term task, rather than one I did as a part of the Shakespeare and his Contemporaries module I took later on, but I honestly don’t remember clearly anymore. It was in with other notes from my first year.
Anyway: I have not reread this poem in nearly a decade on the assumption that it was forced and awful. Because I don’t write poetry – I’m not a poet. I’ve written about 3 poems I am sort of happy with ever, one is composed entirely of swear words. But as I was sorting through what to throw and what to gamely try and dry out, I found this. The title sucks, but I think it’s otherwise not half bad:
The Love of Art
Robbed of lover’s words, who is Romeo?
A nameless rose no tragedy ensnares.
This beauty in concise or flowing prose
Another’s heartache brings amongst our cares.
Our shame as selfish creatures one and all
Can be forgot within a gloried verse.
As one of hero’s brethren we stand tall
Avoiding baser fears that are our curse.
What wondrous power pulls us worlds away
And draws from us our pained thoughts and woe,
Because this subtle stranger tells us so?
And thus through love of words one can impart
The sweet perfume that is the love of art.
It’s a very me sort of response to a writing challenge. Rather than writing about love or romance, I decided to write a commentary on the practice of sonnet writing itself. I can’t even remember what sort of sonnet this is, now. I suppose I could work it out with a little thought, but I can’t be arsed. I have paper to dry. I remember it was a right bugger to do, though. I shall always be in awe of real poets, like my amazing friend Adrienne – one of the few poets to pass through the writing group I was in at university, and whose writing and passion blew me away.
But anyway. That’s a little bit of my writing, but in a form I don’t usually do. It was nice to stumble upon. This is one piece of paper I shall not be throwing out.