The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,The lowing herd wind slowly o’er the lea,Thomas Grey – Elegy in a Country Churchyard
It’s a dull and mournful poem at the best of times, and when it was first crammed into me about the age of 13, I didn’t appreciate its finer points. Even in my maturity I tend to think of the lines Far From The Madding Crowd and Paths of Glory as being useful in a trivia quiz, rather than appreciating its finer points as a poem.
However, if Hardy and Kubrick can steal bits of it, my title problems are over for months. It’s a very long poem…
It’s also, according to an article I read, not an elegy, which just goes to show that poets know nothing about poetry.
So, I hear you shouting, it’s all very well having a pop at Grey’s Elegy, but what masterpieces have you written today?
The honest answer is none. I looked at my notes, I set to with enthusiasm and I’m currently looking at the smoking wreckage of one haibun and the lifeless corpse of another.
I’m not sure whether it was the weight of my expectations or my attempts to write on then screen that caused the problem. After eating (Julia is just putting the finishing touches to a roast dinner), I am going to revert to pen and paper.
If that fails then I will have to admit that the weight of expectation and the amount of planning has probably stifled the work.
This, unfortunately, leads me to the conclusion that my best work is all don by accident and I am, as mentioned before, a fraud. A lucky fraud, but still a fraud.
If, on the other hand, the work does flow, I will be making work for myself, ad I hate the labour of typing out my notes. Labour? That’s a very privileged definition of labour.
Footnote: I ate the roast dinner then watched the The Great Pottery Throwdown. Then I had apple crumble. Later, I will write…
The picture of the country churchyard is Southwell MInster.