Dactyls, cats and amphibrachs

Yes, there is still life in Baroque Mansions! I’d describe what’s been going on around here but it just goes whoosh whoooosh WHOOSH, even when it’s sitting so still you think it’s stagnating. And even that’s just because it’s moving so fast all around you you can’t see anything outside it, & frankly I think the better policy is just to ignore it when possible and keep looking straight ahead. It is, as I say, Life.

Just trying to get used to new conditions and make a familiar corner where I can work, and work out what happens next.

Of course, the very next thing is Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, where I will be blogging-in-residence in under three weeks! I’ve been reading really wonderful books, about whose authors I will be giving a one-hour talk on Friday Nov 2nd.

Term’s proper underway, too. Classes and tutorials and masses of very interested people, and stimulating conversations about poems and meaning and trochees and dactyls and how does substitution work, and when is it a spondee, and last week my favourite metrical foot, the dactyl. And the amphibrach and the molossus.

For information, a molossus has three syllables, all of which are stressed. Like the spondee and the pyrrhic foot, this comes on its own in a line made up otherwise of normal feet. You can’t have a whole line of either stressed or unstressed syllables, it’s like going up and never coming down. And the amphibrach is a symmetrical foot with two unstressed syllables surrounding a stress. It’s the foot of the limerick.

I sit at the foot of the limerick.

There was an old man from Molossus
who fancied himself a Colossus.
But the girls looked rolled their eyes
when he sprung his surprise –
‘He’s so stressed! It will never impross us.’

An amphibrach of the Jurassic
was considered a dinosaur classic.
His perfection of form
took the raptors by storm.
Then they ate him: that’s classic Jurassic.

At the top, some vintage kitten fabric I’ve been using as my desktop on my computer. As you do. Click to see more about the designer, Tammis Keefe; I think she’d have made a very pretty dactyl fabric if she’d had a chance.

Flibberty gibberty,
Statue of Liberty
holds up her torch like a
fire in a box.

The water floats, and the boats,
under her giant cloaks,
but she’s held up by a
mountain of rocks.

Sorry, that’s random, and it’s a bad rhyme, I don’t have time. You do it. If it all gets too much, just do what I’ve been doing. Look at the cats.

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