Thursday, August 05, 2010
R.S. Thomas, Taste
I had preferred Chaucer
but for the slop in his saucer:
or grave Edmund Spenser
moving formally as a dancer.
But Shakespeare's cut and thrust,
I allow you, was a must
on my bookshelves; and after,
Donne's thin, cerebral laughter.
Dryden I could not abide,
nor the mincing fratricide
of Pope. Jonathan Swift,
though courageous, had no uplift.
But Wordsworth, looking in the lake
of his mind, him I could take;
and Percy Shelley at times;
Byron, too, but only for his rhymes.
Tennyson? Browning? If I mention
them, it is but from convention,
despite the vowel technique
of the one, the other's moral cheek.
Then Hardy, for many a major
poet, is for me just an old-stager,
shuffling about a bogus heath
cobwebbed with his Victorian breath.
And coming to my own century
with its critics' compulsive hurry
to place a poet, I must smile
at the congestion at the turnstile
of fame, the faceless, formless amoeba
with the secretion of its vers libre.
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