Thursday, August 05, 2010


De Gustibus

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.
Related post: Tutors.

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