Will's Coffee House

John Dryden, Dramatist, Critic, Poet Laureate, and my ancestor, frequented a coffee house called Will's almost daily, where he would hold forth on sundry subjects with great wit and aplomb. Same deal here, only without the wit or aplomb.

Location: Large Midwestern City, Midwestern State, United States

I am a stranger in a sane land...

Thursday, February 16, 2006

An Odd Choice for Friday Poetry

Normally--almost unilaterally--I *hate* Shelley. Yet he's got one poem that so brilliantly encapsulates the rage of the conscientious resident of a decaying age that it just seems too perfect, given our own national state of affairs, not to offer today. Draw as many comparisons to contemporary figures/events as you can; the winner gets a $10 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble.


An old, mad, blind, despis'd, and dying king,
Princes, the dregs of their dull race, who flow
Through public scorn--mud from a muddy spring,
Rulers who neither see, nor feel, nor know,
But leech-like to their fainting country cling,
Till they drop, blind in blood, without a blow,
A people starv'd and stabb'd in the untill'd field,
An army, which liberticide and prey
Makes as a two-edg'd sword to all who wield,
Golden and sanguine laws which tempt and slay,
Religion Christless, Godless--a book seal'd,
A Senate--Time's worst statute unrepeal'd,
Are graves, from which a glorious Phantom may
Burst, to illumine our tempestuous day.

Justified anger, beautifully expressed. He had one good day as a poet, did Percy...


Blogger post-doc said...

I'm impossible with poetry. Really - always have been. I was roommates with a poet in college, and I adore her, and she'd come in and sit on my bed and read me something she'd written.

And I tried to get it, honestly, but, well, it never happened. So, I would always say, "Oh, how pretty! Now tell me what it means so I can understand." Then we'd talk, and I'd read it myself and kind of get some of it.

So I wanted to share my mental image of me in the back of your classroom, avoiding eye contact, hoping you don't notice this is outside my realm. Because while I'll be back, I'm not turning in the homework. :)

12:10 PM  
Blogger phd me said...

Once again, I support your poetic tastes. Such bitterness expressed so beautifully. In the long run, though, old Perce always seemed to be trying too hard. Really, must he go on (and on) about that west wind?

Oops, let me back up: I do like Ozymandias. I adore the last line: "the lone and level sands stretch far away." Somehow, that resonates with me.

6:20 PM  

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