Sunday, February 26, 2006

Does anyone care about poetry?

Does anyone care about poetry?
This was written as an answer to another blogger. Perhaps one should try writing poems, not writing about poems:
"The word 'encourage' is used in such modern sentences in the merely automatic sense of promote; to encourage poetry means merely to advance or assist poetry. But to encourage poetry means properly to put courage into poetry - a fine idea."
[GKC, ILN Sept 26, 1906 CW27:292]
So instead of writing about poetry, I wrote a poem to write about writing about poetry.
(Thank God I am a Chestertonian computer scientist, and can deal with such practical metaphysics...)

A blogger asks, "Do any care for rhyme?"
So I, who deal with words at work and play -
Computing cannot be a "Catholic" crime:
"According to Thy word" did Mary say,1
"From 'yes' and 'no' your lips should never stray" 2
And Comp-sci Greeks now study liturgy3...
So armed with Word's own words I join the fray!
Does anyone care about poetry?

When "Phantom Tollbooth" Milo4 fought the grime
Of countless demons standing in his way
With Humbug and the Dog-Who-Watches-Time,
And so in darkness shone the Truthful ray:
He did not rescue "Prose and Feeling" - nay!
His diligence set Rhyme and Reason free...
Then Words and Numbers 5 ordered Wisdom's sway.6
Does anyone care about poetry?

Poems, just like numbers, might not be prime:
Words, declined to wed, will hide, fight, or slay;
But ah, what joy when perfect is the chime,
A fruitful tree 7 when words unite and stay...
As Dodgson watched the flight of his tea-tray8
A Real Romance 9 and not just Fantasy:
A song, a story, study, work and pray10...
Does anyone care about poetry?

Oh blogger, word-made-flesh11, and living clay:
Move not thy mouse, press not that "Any" key!
My verbal wine foretells that coming Day12...
Does anyone care about poetry?

Made February 26, 2006.

OK, I overdid it again with the footnotes.

[1] Lk 1:38
[2] Mt 5:37
[3] The computer science course called "operating systems" is called "leitourgika" in Greece.
[4] See The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
[5] Azaz and the Mathemagician
[6] see Ws 11:21; cf. Science and Creation by S. L. Jaki, chapter 10.
[7] Mt 7:16-20
[8] See Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, "A Mad Tea-Party"
"Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!
How I wonder what you're at!" ...
"Up above the world you fly,
Like a tea-tray in the sky."
[9] "if there be indeed a God, his creation could hardly have reached any other culmination than this granting of a real romance to the world." [GK. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man CW2:380]
[10] cf. the Benedictine ora et labora
[11] cf. Jn 1:14, but note the lower-case; we are indeed flesh formed from the 3 billion-base "word" of DNA.
[12] see Jn 2:10; also cf. Rv 22:5 "and night shall be no more"


At 27 February, 2006 07:30, Anonymous Anonymous said...

(Mama mia!)

Will you sign my copy of your book of poetry?


At 28 February, 2006 00:13, Blogger love2learnmom said...

Ria and Gus really enjoyed this poem when I read it to them. Thanks for reminding me about "Twinkle, twinkle, little bat." It's something I quote from time to time but had no recollection where it came from. Of course if I had remembered all the way up to the "tea-tray" part it might have helped. :)

At 07 April, 2006 02:25, Blogger Chestertonian Rambler said...

That is, indeed, an impressive poem.

I especially like the footnotes--but that may be more because we share a literary vice rather than because of their inherent value. ;-)


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