Today was generally very good and I am no longer angry at the maths department. I suddenly understand my maths assignment and shall write it once I've written this, I can do a good deal more of our work than I could before, and I'm generally feeling in a good mood about maths right now. I did my English speech, and while I forgot to say a couple of things I wanted to say, I did the perfect time (7:58, desired length is 6-8 minutes), didn't have any notes, and feel I spoke powerfully. In SOR, I managed to make a bit of a start on my assignment - I have no ideas for this thing and I fear it. But I'll get it done somehow. At least I have until the 28th. Other classes went nicely, though during study it was annoying because the computers were randomly working but not. The network was down when we came in, but they got going, we all logged on, but then some computers started freezing. Soon enough, only two of us, including myself, were left on. We somehow managed to last until the end of the lesson despite the fact none of the other computers could establish a network connection. Apparently there's been a massive server error.
Visiting the library at lunchtime made my day. Well, that twit saintcheney found initially did (aimee55, feel free to harass at will), but she screens comments unlike our dear 000sundancer000, thereby limiting the fun. I'm such a prick to these people, I know. They deserve it, though. Anyway, back to the library making my day. I'd gone up there to read Dante's Divine Comedy for the better half of lunch, and I normally sit down one particular aisle, right by where all the Shakespeare stuff is. As you would expect, there are shelves of books along both sides, but I'd only investigated one side - I've already figured out what stuff there I must read (they have some really cool stuff, such as a lot (all?) of Shakespeare's plays, various famous Greek works, Chekhov, et cetera). Today, I happened to spy a book about English literature on the other side and decided to check out what they have. I was more than thrilled to discover MORE literature, this time POETRY. So I got out this book of 'seven centuries of poetry in English', and ladies and gentlemen, this thing is beautiful. Beautiful in two ways - beautiful because some of the poetry contained is stunning, and beautiful because some of the poetry contained is so laughable that it shouldn't be labelled 'poetry'. Here's some classics.
By E. E. Cummings
My first reaction upon reading that was "WTF?" I will
For some relief, here's some good poetry.
Dulce et Decorum Est
By Wilfred Owen
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their books
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind. [Five-Nines are gas shells]
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! - An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime ...
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green lights,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, -
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori [It is sweet and honourable to die for one's country]
By Kenneth Slessor
Softly and humbly to the Gulf of Arabs
The convoys of dead sailors come;
At night they sway and wander in the waters far under,
But morning rolls them in the foam.
Between the sob and clubbing of the gunfire
Someone, it seems, has time for this,
To pluck them from the shallows and bury them in burrows,
And tread the sand upon their nakedness;
And each cross, the driven stake of tidewood,
Bears the last signature of men,
Written with such perplexity, with such bewildered pity,
The words choke as they begin -
'Unknown seaman' - the ghostly pencil
Wavers and fades, the purple drips,
The breath of the wet season has washed their inscriptions
As blue as drowned men's lips,
Dead seamen, gone in search of the same landfall,
Whether as enemies they fought,
Or fought with us, or neither; the sand joins them together,
Enlisted on the other front.
Old English is really good fun as long as you can understand it and decipher the spelling. The following is the first poem I read and I really enjoyed it. My text has some words explained, so they're in brackets.
Uppon a deedmans hed
By John Skelton
Youre ugly tokyn
My mynd hath brokyn
From worldly lust;
For I have dyscust
We ar but dust,
And dy we must.
It is generall
To be mortall:
I have well espyde
No man may hym hyde
From deth holow-eyed,
With synnews wyderyd, [withered]
With bonys shyderyd, [shattered]
With hys worme-etyn maw
And hys gastly jaw
Nakyd of hyde,
Neyther flesh nor fell.
Then by my councell,
Loke that ye spell
Well thys gospell;
For wherso we dwell,
Deth wyll us quell
And with us mell. [mingle]
For all oure pamperde paunchys
Ther may no fraunchys, [franchise, i.e. privilege]
Nor worldly blys
Redeme us from this.
Our days be datyd
To be chekmatyd,
With drawttys [chess moves] of deth
Stoppyng oure breth,
Oure eyen synkyng,
Our bodys stynkyng,
Our gummys grynnyng,
Our soulys, brynnyng, [burning]
To whom then shall we sew [sue]
For to have rescew,
But to swete Jesu
On us then for to rew?
O goodly chyld
Of Mary mylde,
Then be oure shylde:
That we be not exylyd
To the dine [dark] dale
Of boteles bile, [useless grief]
Nor to the lake
Of fendys blake. [fiends black]
But graunt us grace
To se thy face,
And to purchace
Thyne hevenly place
And thy palace,
Full of solace
Above the sky
That is so hy;
To beholde and se
Myrres vous y. [Look at yourself there]
I found that one really fun to read. Some of the earliest English poetry, as evidenced by the spelling. It's fascinating to read about how spelling evolved, or maybe I really am just that odd.
Yes, I've been rather in the mood for poetry and literature lately. Jamie's been having a real go at me, saying I shouldn't be a teenager. Why, just because I enjoy reading? Because I want to broaden my horizons a tad and be a bit educated? Good bob, I'm not the ridiculous one; he is. Sadly, it seems few - as in no-one at my school - share my sentiments. Oh well, I suppose someone has to read all those books ...