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Caliban at Sunset -- P G Wodehouse

Guest poem submitted by Suresh Ramasubramanian:

Was re-reading "Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit" and ran across this poem by Percy
Gorringe (the "bloke with side whiskers" who loves Florence Craye).  He is
talking with Bertie at Brinkley Manor (Aunt Dahlia's place) and they are
watching a particularly fruity sunset, which Bertie describes as "being aflame
with glorious technicolour"  ....
(Poem #408) Caliban at Sunset
 I stood with a man
 Watching the sun go down.
 The air was full of murmurous summer scents
 And a brave breeze sang like a bugle
 From a sky that smouldered in the west,
 A sky of crimson, amethyst, gold and sepia
 And blue as blue were the eyes of Helen
 When she sat
 Gazing from some high tower in Ilium
 Upon the Grecian tents darkling below.
 And he,
 This man who stood beside me,
 Gaped like some dull, half-witted animal
 And said,
 "I say,
 Doesn't that sunset remind you
 Of a slice
 Of underdone roast beef?"
-- P G Wodehouse
What a lovely anticlimax - Wodehouse does it really well, using just the sort of
stuff a mediocre poet would write, with all the typical conceits (florid
"poetic" language, classical allusions, attempts to describe a sunset ...) and
then bringing in the bit about the sky being like "underdone roast beef", which
is in really good, simple English, unlike the rest of the poem.

Kind of reminds me of Wordsworth's poem "Peter Bell" - something about a guy who
sees only "a flower" where others see a beautiful blue primrose.  I've often
seen "Peter Bell" contrasted with "Daffodils", btw.

Suresh.

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Anonymous said...

Care to site the fact that you clearly took inspiration from Caliban from Shakespear's "The Tempest"?

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