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Friday, November 13, 2009

Poetry Friday--"Poeta Fit, Non Nascitur"

The creator of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland [F CAR and J CAR], Lewis Carroll, also wrote poetic parodies, humorous verse, and riddles. Some of them have been collected in Poems of Lewis Carroll, selected by the late Myra Cohn Livingston [821.8 CAR]. This one, although tongue in cheek, does have a ring of truth to it! (In reading it, make sure you get "Enthusiastically" right!)

Poeta Fit, Non Nascitur

"How shall I be a poet?
How shall I write in rhyme?
You told me once 'the very wish
Partook of the sublime.'
Then tell me how! Don't put me off
With your 'another time'!"

The old man smiled to see him,
To hear his sudden sally;
He liked the lad to speak his mind
And thought "There's no hum-drum in him,
Nor any shilly-shally."

"And would you be a poet
Before you've been to school?
Ah, well! I hardly thought you
So absolute a fool.
First learn to be spasmodic--
A very simple rule.

"For first you write a sentence,
And then you chop it small;
Then mix the bits, and sort them out
Just as they chance to fall:
The order of the phrases makes
No difference at all.

"Then, if you'd be impressive,
Remember what I say,
That abstract qualities begin
With capitals always:
The True, the Good, the Beautiful--
Those are the things that pay!

"Next, when we are describing
A shape, or sound, or tint;
Don't state the matter plainly,
But put it in a hint;
And learn to look at all things
With a sort of mental squint."

It goes on...and on...You can read the rest in Poems of Lewis Carroll, or online here.

Check out the Poetry Friday Round-Up being hosted by Gregory K.

1 comment:

  1. That's awesome! I think you're right about the ring of truth. :)