Comments: 22
Sock Poppet at Play 9 years ago
When I read Kipling's line "If you can keep your head when all about you" I thought of this slightly altered version I read years ago.

"If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs,
Maybe you just don't understand the situation."
Ceridwen 9 years ago
Ha! Variation on "If you're not mad, you're not paying attention," but snarkier.
I hate "If" with a passion.
My mother foams at the mouth at the mention of Joyce Kilmer. (She was forced to memorize him in school.)
Ceridwen 9 years ago
Oh, that would do it. I have no love for that dopey "touched the face of God" poem I was forced to memorize after the Challenger disaster. "Death of the Ball Turret Gunner" would have been more appropriate to the situation. Thanks, Reagan.
I hate that poem. But I like the Ogden Nash version.
This comment from Jules:

"I think your methodology is fundamentally flawed, I'm afraid. As long as there are more than 1000 actual results, Google's estimated number of hits is based only on the words contained in the phrase you are searching for and is known to be very unreliable for multi-word queries"

is something I have read before. I think this method doesn't actually produce even approximately accurate results.
Ceridwen 9 years ago
Was that a comment on the original post? Because I believe it. Monkeying around with Google data is incredibly unreliable if you're not Google.
Does it actually count as a poem if it's from a play?
Ceridwen 9 years ago
Good question, I would say no, but obviously that's a judgment call. Shakespeare often gets a pass though, because he did crazy shit like make dialogue into sonnets. I mean, most people can't even make sonnets into sonnets.
Shakespeare wrote at least one play that's all poetry; not a single line of Richard II that's prose.
Ceridwen 9 years ago
Shakespeare was a bamf.
Romeo and Juliet share a sonnet at one pint...
Sock Poppet at Play 9 years ago
I had to google bamf. The things I learn here!
Ceridwen 9 years ago
Yeah, the first lines they utter to one another are a sonnet:

ROMEO

[To JULIET] If I profane with my unworthiest hand
This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this:
My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand
To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.

JULIET

Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,
Which mannerly devotion shows in this;
For saints have hands that pilgrims' hands do touch,
And palm to palm is holy palmers' kiss.

ROMEO

Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?

JULIET

Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.

ROMEO

O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do;
They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.

JULIET

Saints do not move, though grant for prayers' sake.

ROMEO

Then move not, while my prayer's effect I take.
The key distinction is verse vs. poem: just because something is written in verse, doesn't automatically make it a poem.
Ceridwen 9 years ago
I would have to think about it, but my knee-jerk reaction is to ask what the definition of poem is then. Obviously, it doesn't have to be in verse to be a poem, but what about things like novels in verse? Is that a poem or not? If not, then why are epic poems (which verse novels tend to riff on) poems? Because they have the same kind of narrative arc, and often aren't even in verse due to translation (though, I guess, they were in verse in the original, so that's specious to bring up.) I guess I'd argue plays in verse aren't poems, because they are scripts for performance, but then that brings you back to the epic poem again, which is oral and intended to be performed. I don't know. I kind of have a hangover.
Poetry is high quality verse.
Ceridwen 9 years ago
Haha, no way am I agreeing to a definition that includes the concept of quality. I'm not THAT hungover.
Other definitions have their flaws, too.
Ceridwen 9 years ago
True enough.
I'm surprised to see that Auden line there; I never hear that quoted.