Poetry & prose

DSC01065.JPG

I often wonder what it is about periods of time that cause me sometimes to favour the poetic, and at others the prosaic. Both matter to me hugely. A frosty morning scene like this one tends to produce a poetic response – in a daydreaming sort of way, even if not in an actual poem.

So I was delighted to come upon Austin Dobson’s cheerful Ballade of Prose and Rhyme. He gave the subject a fair bit of thought too …

When the ways are heavy with mire and rut,
In November fogs, in December snows,
When the North Wind howls, and the doors are shut,—
There is place and enough for the pains of prose;
But whenever a scent from the whitethorn blows,
And the jasmine-stars at the casement climb,
And a Rosalind-face at the lattice shows,
Then hey! for the ripple of laughing rhyme!

When the brain gets dry as an empty nut,
When the reason stands on its squarest toes,
When the mind (like a beard) has a “formal cut,”—
There is place and enough for the pains of prose;
But whenever the May-blood stirs and glows,
And the young year draws to the “golden prime,”
And Sir Romeo sticks in his ear a rose,—
Then hey! for the ripple of laughing rhyme!

In a theme where the thoughts have a pedant-strut,
In a changing quarrel of “Ayes” and “Noes,”
In a starched procession of “If” and “But,”—
There is place and enough for the pains of prose;
But whenever a soft glance softer grows
And the light hours dance to the trysting-time,
And the secret is told “that no one knows,”—
Then hey! for the ripple of laughing rhyme!

In the work-a-day world,—for its needs and woes,
There is place and enough for the pains of prose;
But whenever the May-bells clash and chime,
Then hey! for the ripple of laughing rhyme!

Austin Dobson, 1840–1921

The gales sallying forth from the mighty – and persistent – Storm Doris are howling around our house and its chimney tonight. And close to the comfort of the hearth, my response is definitely a poetic one!

Drop me a note - I'm always glad to hear from you

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s