{Thu 8 March 2007}   Examination Meditation
Well, I’m thinking of applying for this wonderful-sounding Online MA in Creative Writing and New Media.
I haven’t studied formally for so many years; I wonder how I’ll fit in to the whole uni thing again. Considering this makes me think of a poem I wrote in futile protest once when I really ought to have been doing something more strategic for my end-of-year exams:

Examination Meditation

The weight of that which must be learned
Forbids the enjoyment of a single word
Which probably, if dwelt upon
Would yield a richness like the one
That’s sought in all this wild attempt
To gather all things known or meant
In a holy list of date and time,
Falsely to cry “This knowledge is mine!”
For once the pen has hit the pad,
It really is so very sad
How quickly all the marshalled facts
Just fly the grey cells; turn their backs
And I, their erstwhile master, then
Become degreed, with no more ken!

As for me myself!
I dribble with poetry
As black as does not trigger-rush a happy smile-child
With a healing saliva because it cannot

Tia says:

Hmmm…. stream-of-consciousness…? Couldn’t really follow that!

Lines from a poem I wrote. Ii was thinking of Ted Hughes’ comment in a letter to a friend in which he says:

I’ve noticed, the closer you get to the real thing in any bout of writing, the more formidable are the perverse interruptions, the deflections, tempting diversions and sheer obstacular incidents. The Alchemists were so familiar with it, they gave it a name – Ophiucos i.e. the Great Snake (no less!)

(Letter to William Scammell. 2 October 1993. ‘Letters of Ted Hughes’. Selected & Edited by Christopher Reid. Faber & Faber, 2007). 648, 649).

Tia says:

How sadly true that seems to be… the obstacles that mysteriously arise to prevent us writing… although that’s not what my poem above is about. I’m not talking about being unable to write, but rather about having to apply myself with such urgency and seriousness to studying for an exam that I cannot allow myself simply to luxuriate in the beauty of the words I’m reading. I guess there is a similarity though in the sense of frustration where we cannot do what we want to do.

In an Elizabthan play The Pilgrimage to Parnassus (1598) 2 pilgrims Philomusus and Stuidoso embark upon a trek to Parnassus. They are waylaid by Madido whose blandishments have been the baneful ruin of many a poor poet:

This Parnassus and Helicon are but the fables of the poetes, there is no true Parnassus but the third lofte in a wine taverne, not true Helicon but a cup of brown bastard. Will you travell quicklie to Parnassus, do but carrie your drie feet into some drie taverne, and straight the drawer…will bring you a cup…that will make you speak leaping lines and dauncing periodes.

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