Thursday, August 28, 2014

Poetry | Five Poems, five poets, five days

Caterpillar Cafe is not a review site primarily because, being writers, we can't bear to give bad reviews especially when we know how hard it is to write anything at all. So we believe that 'Good writing lies in the eye of the reader.' So here at the cafe' we tell you what we love and why we think you will love it too. 

And one of us happens to love poetry. Yes, remember english classes- ' Tiger Tiger burning bright' ?Poetry is a lot more than memorising poems. It's perfect reading before bed as the rhythm of the lines act like a lullaby lulling you to sleep. This week I run through some of my favourite poems. 

I have to start with Donne. Donne was my introduction to how poetry can be completely absurd and yet make sense all at the same time. Donne manages to turn anything into a metaphor for love. A compass, death and now a flea. I think this is perhaps the cleverest poem written about a flea and perhaps the most erotic. Do you know another poem that combines fleas and sex. A perennial favourite, here is The Flea.

How to read? I am terrible at recognising iambic pentameters and tetrameters but here goes. This poem alternates metrically between lines in iambic tetrameter (4 iambs or syllables ) and lines in iambic pentameter (5 iambs). So it's 454545455. The rhyme scheme in each stanza is regular, in couplets, with the final line rhyming with the final couplet: AABBCCDDD.This makes the last three lines in the stanza read strange as you always think the last line remains hanging. Tell me if you think it reads differently. 

                                                 The Flea

Mark but this flea, and mark in this,   
How little that which thou deniest me is;   
It sucked me first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea our two bloods mingled be;   
Thou know’st that this cannot be said
A sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead,
    Yet this enjoys before it woo,
    And pampered swells with one blood made of two,
    And this, alas, is more than we would do.

Oh stay, three lives in one flea spare,
Where we almost, nay more than married are.   
This flea is you and I, and this
Our marriage bed, and marriage temple is;   
Though parents grudge, and you, w'are met,   
And cloistered in these living walls of jet.
    Though use make you apt to kill me,
    Let not to that, self-murder added be,
    And sacrilege, three sins in killing three.

Cruel and sudden, hast thou since
Purpled thy nail, in blood of innocence?   
Wherein could this flea guilty be,
Except in that drop which it sucked from thee?   
Yet thou triumph’st, and say'st that thou   
Find’st not thy self, nor me the weaker now;
    ’Tis true; then learn how false, fears be:
    Just so much honor, when thou yield’st to me,

    Will waste, as this flea’s death took life from thee. 

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