In this chapter I am told to read through a list of Iambic Pentameter (or I.P as I'm now going to call it) and 'savour' each line as if it were chocolate, 'slowly taking it in.' But I'm not too sure that I am really meant to read poetry slowly, as personally I prefer to shovel chocolate in as quickly as possible. I have never been a 'sucker,' I find it annoying and unsatisfying. Hmmm....
I go through the I.P as instructed, marking the unstressed syllables like this _ and stressed ones like this / . It's quite fun and I soon get into the rhythm, getting carried away with it rather than actually reading the words properly. But whatever.
My favourite one in the list is by WH Auden, so I will use it as an example:
_ / _ / _ / _ / _ /
And death is better as the millions know,
_ / _ / _ / _ / _ /
Than dandruff, night-starvation, or B.O.
I prefer the way it looks on paper than on the computer, but that's the best I can do.
Stephen's knowledge never ceases to amaze me. At the end of the examples, he casually points out that there is more than 700 years of poems represented there. And my guess is that they are probably in chronological order, too. What a show off!
I am supposed to go back and read them again, this time as if I were tasting wine. I’m afraid this has lost me as well, because I like to glug down wine!
I have to write ‘only’ about twenty I.P of my own, of either one or two lines. So much for easing me in gently, dude.
I am given a series of instructions, including the following:
- Do not rhyme this time (damn it)
- Don't try to make them good (what a great excuse for churning out a pile of shit!)
- Beware of monosyllables (they bite)
- Don't use archaic vocabulary (damn, what am I possibly going to substitute in place of 'thou' and 'thee'?)
And now, I am finally ready. Here goes.
Now that it’s time I don’t know what to write.
I think it will be shitty but who cares?
They lost our luggage somewhere on the way.
But will we get it back, I dare not say. (oops, my bad)
I ate too much chocolate from Prague today.
How nice of June to bring it back for me.
I loved to play dodgeball on my first night.
It made me think how much I’ve missed this school.
I had high hopes to write on the journey,
But when it came to it, could I be arsed?
Police class with the fake gun is so weird.
I want to read now, am I nearly done?
The cat has got so fat, or warm with fur.
Monosyllables, how I love you so.
I only have three pairs of pants with me.
It’s nearly Christmas and I am away,
No more X Factor girls, hip hip hooray!
You are couple? Teacher ah! I hate you.
My shoes are warm and so is my bedroom.
But as for outside, I’ll just stay right here.
Getting paid to play jenga with the kids.
Could anything be more weird than this?
I miss the babies, they are amazing!
Walking and talking when I get back home.
And that’s quite enough of that, I’m exhausted. Stephen says that even simple poetry like this can be a way of expressing thoughts and feelings, which was (rather unwittingly) true for me. A sort of rhythmic diary. I can also see how it is like doing scales on a piano.
As you already know, I am supposed to take my notebook with me everywhere. I might just take it with me to school tomorrow and run riot with my pen during my free lesson. Anything could happen.
Ooh, what an exciting life I lead.