Fragments from ‘The Betrayal’

April 8, 2010 at 6:32 pm | Posted in poetry, writing | 11 Comments
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When on a flat black sea bebobs a painted cap
t’will be Greece twice mad like drownded cat
grist for the millers hobnailed clubfoot
dance to bounce his merry wife

her boobies barely clad in underwear overwear overhears
the armoury sergeant on formal bended knee propose
a midnight tryst and in that wish become betrothed.
With sacrificial Lamb a party planned for

ladies gathered neath whispering fans, a dark man
prowls pen in hand, a Childe’s contrivance on command.

The sergeant falls in open field his wounds alive,
his fear his wife, his youthful bride,

The miller in his bed expires from overwork yet
underhired, the runner stone turns one more time,


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  1. This is an experiment on twisting the Byronic myth into a new poem. If you don’t know much about Byron it probably doesn’t make much sense but I hope it still works in a way. I could explain all the references but I am too lazy. I’m willing to answer any questions if there any though.

  2. Well he fought in his way, Byron, certainly, his lungs are buried there in the dry ground; although perhaps that too is myth. I have images of ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’ to back up the battleground image you have masterfully created, but really it’s beautiful, romantic in the ways disease has of shutting life down in a darkened room smelling of nightsweats.
    Augusta. yes, a blue-eyed daughter.
    As always, more than you aim is included for those who know even a tiny part of you, yet even without that, I am as ever impressed by your thinking and your thirst.

  3. A fascinating poem, Paul. I am not familiar with Byron and his affairs, but you have piqued my interest. By the way, I just looked up “pique definition” to make sure I was using the right word and all I can say is that you should take a look at the google hit number 1!!!

  4. so intriguing, beautiful bouncing imagery and clear words that seem full and brimming cup runneth over, even if I don’t know much about Byron
    except ‘she walks in beauty’ it still opened into a vision i felt i wanted to expand in, see more of, understand better. i would guess that must be a way your poetry speaks to the heart, with or without a backstory but i will have to investigate Byron now as well. Thanks!

  5. This is fantastic and I love ‘underwear overwear overhears’ but am not up with Byron (except for some stuff at school which I have forgotten). Could you give us some clues – running commentary as it were.
    Here is the wiki entry for Byron’s life, Gabrielle.<. This poem is kind of about the strange death of his best friend Shelley, who drowned, his time in Greece and the scandals regarding Augusta and Caroline Lamb. He had a club foot. I'm never sure that these type of poems reward the reader in excess of the time taken to figure them out. That's why I don't write long footnotes. Byron was the first rockstar poet. A role model in a way. It's also about the way the idea of what a poet is, has changed since then. See the poem above for a contrast. Poets used have license to be different, it was expected of them. Byron certainly was. Nowadays we are expected to be normal functioning members of society as well as being poets. I am such an old fogey. I cling to the Romantic ideal.

  6. This pombobbubbles along beautifully and a little bawdily if I may say so, quintessentially Lording it up, before reclining with a hint of melancholy. It’s gorgeous.

  7. Thanks for the info. My father would be horrified that I know so little of Byron. I am of the belief that poetry shouldn’t just be for a casual read (though sometimes that’s good to, like in slams where it’s more more fun I guess) and I prefer this poem to the one above. Everyone has different tastes and opinions. I don’t know where you get the idea that poets are ‘expected to be normal functioning members of society’ but that might just me being new to the area. I don’t think it’s the case for novelists or rock stars or other celebrities – in fact probably the opposite – the media love a malfunctioning superstar. Enjoy speedpoets tomorrow.

  8. I hear your voice reading this one, love how the way the language flows and moved the reader along, sound by sound. Gorgeous.

  9. Narnie says it best! It’s an interesting experimentation with voice and language in of itself and some fun cheekiness too, though I’m not familiar with the Byron poem your referring to either.

  10. A poem that’s certainly worth reading aloud. The twists and turns of the tongue are a pleasure.

  11. “If you don’t know much about Byron it probably doesn’t make much sense but I hope it still works in a way.”

    It does work in a mysterious way. I used to know a wee bit about Byron long ago in the days when the dog made regular meals of my homework. Yet without Byron, the poem has a narrative that one feels. Perhaps had Byron not been famous (to be discovered later like Laocoon), your fragments of Byronic story would point back to him, but now live independent lives to us who know Byron so incompletely.

    Your poem, parts of something past, new narrative with its own lines makes.

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