Feb

8

Richard III, from Duncan Coker

February 8, 2013 |

 It is remarkable they found remains

Of Richard Three, the King that none could tame.

The discovery of the body of Richard III this week could be a hoax. However, I think not given the carbon dating, the matching historical features of the body, and the evidence of DNA linked to known descendants. It is history and legend transported to the present. Richard is made famous by Shakespeare who depicted him as one of history's greatest tyrants. True or not, I believe the Bard was most concerned with universal truths ahead of historical accuracy.

Along those lines, I am reading an interesting book on the forms of poetry. All the Fun's in How You Say a Thing, by Timothy Steele. Poetry of 14th and 15th century England was evolving from Old English to a newer form. Word accent, syllable-count, and rhyming pattern were the essential features. Most popular was an alternating accent (iambic), with 5 segments or feet per line (pentameter). The works of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Johnson and Pope were written in iambic pentameter. Modern poets like Robert Frost use it as well. Close to me, I can recall my Grandfather teaching me poems. He kept his favorite works by Samuel Johnson and Walt Whitman near at all times. It is relevant still, and learning the forms of verse makes poetry more meaningful.

I think of rhythm when generalizing about prosody, as I do in sports, music and even markets. The early markets in England were developing along with the Great Poets and perhaps there were mutual influences. The patterns in verse are made interesting by exceptions and variation, not unlike markets. On this stormy Northeast weekend, dust off the books of poems from university days.

It's true that time's well spent with poetry.

For snowy days and children full with glee.


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