Saturday, 26 September 2009

Idle Does Keats


To Autumn Work
Season ticket to pissed Friday afternoons of utter uselessness.
Firm-bosomed assistants crediting maturing sums.
Conspiring with mates to loaf and to work less
And watch the time, to beat the evening run;
To bend the rules, to doze beneath the plane trees,
And fill each day, though it is such a bore;
To charm the board; catch Hazel's fragrant smells;
To telephone the Colonel; to eat pudding more,
And still more, and later, calculate my fees -
Filling in expenses being like shelling peas -
For work must never overcome my idle cells.
Idle

For those who need reminding of the original:
To Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

J Keats

26 comments:

Calfy said...

That's amazing.

The Lakelander said...

Wonderful prose, Idle.

Your sabbatical has clearly served to sharpen your wit!

Elby the Beserk said...

Glorious Keats! Had Ode To Autumn and Ode On A Grecian Urn pat by the age of 12; sadly now, it is just the odd line, such as

"Oh for a beaker full of the warm South, Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene!"

An early fan of Penfold's Grange, the boy Keats, I assume.

Welcome back Idle, hope your return to work not too traumatic, and that it won't keep you from the folks in Redlynch, and another chance to meet up, for too long.

William Gruff said...

Can't abide Keats.

For some odd reason the only poetry I've ever been impressed by is that of the metaphysical poets, the war poets and the anonymous 'authors' of Old English alliterative verse.

I translated a thousand lines of Beowulf once, and hope one day to translate the other two thousand. That's a poem, and Keats and his ilk merely piss in the shadows. The Battle of Maldon is another work that puts the limp wristed offerings of Victorian parlour pansies, and those who wished to ape them, in the shade.

Elby the Beserk said...

Gruff

Donne truly wondrous. His sermons also. Beowulf very fine, and I have a deep love of Sir Gawayn as well, not least as it was my love of that that, I believe, clinched my entrance to Oxford to productively waste three years on drugs and rock 'n roll (with very little sex!)

I disagree on Keats, though he is not a big hitter, I grant. Wordsworth in smatters moves - the Preludes, and some of the ballads, Coleridge has his moments - Frosty At Midnight never fails to move me, but I delight in Keats in as en example of the highly-wrought.

Room for them all, dear boy, room for them all; but Donne, and yes, others of his kin - George Herbert - now they are truly fine.

rvi said...

Brilliant!

Your daily time on the 06.45 is clearly being out to good use.

rvi said...

oooooops not out, "put".

Thud said...

It seems your previous state of idleness was better suited....make a pile and return to your rest my good man.As for Victorian pansies well 'the charge of the light brigade' does it for me.

Philipa said...

Excellent!

The last word caught my attention; why 'cells'?

I agree with Gruff that the metaphysical poets are arguably the best but I think Keats is up there with the most memorable poetry and wonderful assembly of words. I could never forget the 'shielded scutcheon' that 'blush'd with blood of queens and kings' and all the other rich imigary of The Eve of St Agnes. Superb example.

Nick Drew said...

egad

must we wait until July for The Old Sailor ?

idle said...

Thanks for most for their kind comments. Also to the beard of Lytham for his unequivocal opinion, which is valid.

"cells", pip, because I was trying to respect the original's rhyme scheme and it suited my meaning very well.

Scrobs... said...

Marvellous description of new business!

Hope Friday's also become Thursdays too...!

Philipa said...

Hmm I guessed the rhyme but twas the meaning I was curious about - now I know ;-)

William Gruff said...

'Also to the beard of Lytham for his unequivocal opinion, which is valid.

I've paid tribute to your withering sarcasm before but I would be doing you less than justice were I not to observe that the line I've quoted above is not up to your usual standard.

How's the new job going?

wildhighlander said...

Well done old chap! Chip off the old block. As well observed as a glance towards Darien.

Curiously Elby - from university tales I have compared with my own experience - the more industrious by repute, the less chance of a shag.

Re Gruff: excuse my observation - The joy has always seemed to me to be the breadth of the offering rather than the overwhelming flavour of any particular course.

The neck-hair frisson of reading words drafted into perfect immortal formulas. The orgasmic chill as they bite into your memory like lifelong leeches.

You can find that from Donne's worms to Brooke's Scamander side to the Jumblies - who never talked of Michaelangelo. Clearly I am not pretentious.

Nothing besides remains.

Philipa said...
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Philipa said...
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idle said...

I thought the pun on "the bard of Lytham" would sink without trace and I was right.

The wildhighlander is clearly short of nubiles in his waiting room, seeking portfolios of "publicity shots".

Interesting brace of comment deleteds at the end. I wonder what they were.

William Gruff said...

Idle: I'm not sure how I should take that; I thought you had used beard as a transitive verb rather than as a noun but clearly I was mistaken. My apologies.

Elby: Stuck in store, perilously close to the Scotch border, is my copy of the Tolkien Wawen. I haven't opened it for years but it is the only one of Tolkien's works that I've ever enjoyed, even though I've read The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings aloud to the Mrs Gruff three times.

Witchcraft By A Picture is one of my top five poems. Sadly my Penguin copy of Donne's verse (bought long ago as a gift to a lover but never given) is also perilously close to the edge of civilisation, so I'm rather out of touch with him. Herbert, I think (or thought twenty years ago and more), was more plausible, and consistent, but not quite as 'inspiring'.

In poetry, as in architecture, the Victorians never quite got the point, and G E Street, and George Gilbert Scott were about as good as it got. They had no poetical equivalent amongst their contemporaries.

I do think that between the death of John Wilmot and 1914 poetry in England was slumbering, and now it is dead.

Philipa said...

"In poetry, as in architecture, the Victorians never quite got the point, and G E Street, and George Gilbert Scott were about as good as it got. They had no poetical equivalent amongst their contemporaries. I do think that between the death of John Wilmot and 1914 poetry in England was slumbering, and now it is dead."

Disagree with you completely. Couldn't disagree more.

Calfy said...

William Gruff- did she not get them the first time?

William Gruff said...

Get what?

William Gruff said...

And who is 'she'?

Philipa said...

Calfy - I don't think either of them got it.

So funny :-D

idle said...

Let me help, Wm:

"even though I've read The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings aloud to the Mrs Gruff three times."

William Gruff said...

That's the sort of 'joke' The Mrs Gruff finds amusing.