Sunday, February 11, 2018

"The loss is ours"

From Patrick Kurp in "The Moon was a Ghostly Galleon":
Just the other day, while walking the dog and apropos of nothing, I found myself singing/chanting this:
“The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees.
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas.”
The most convincing argument in favor of verse that follows the pulse of regular rhythm and the soul-satisfying ring of rhyme is sheer memorability. Our heads are filled with poems and songs because of their music. .... I make no grand critical claims for the lines above, but I’m glad to have them cued up in my mental jukebox. Why did they start playing the other day? No wind was blowing. The sun shone and the moon hadn’t risen. I suspect it was cadence, the words called up by syncing my gait to the dog’s, whose full name, Luke the Drifter, is an hommage to the poet Hank Williams. The poem is Alfred Noyes’ “The Highwayman.” ....

I hear...the great English adventure stories – Stevenson, Henty, Haggard, Kipling. I hear echoes of Masefield’s “A Wanderer’s Song” and Tennyson’s “Break, Break, Break.” Like “The Highwayman,” these are heroic, declamatory poems that invite performance as much as solitary consumption. That’s a tradition long discredited by critics, poets and readers, and the loss is ours. ....
Anecdotal Evidence: `The Moon was a Ghostly Galleon'