This poem was written in response to the Three Line Thursday photo prompt. Thirty words maximum, three lines.
Here’s my take:
Day dawns onto my dying eyes. Farewell
Tears pour into the depth of divine despair. Love
Sinks with the last glimmer of the kiss of Death.
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I’ve made a daring and comparatively weak attempt to emulate the sound of Old English in my flash poem. The repetition of the ‘d’ and ‘k’ sound gives the flash poem force and unity. Curiously, few of the words in my poem have Latin origin. The acoustic power of Old Norse strikes through.
You all know how the Victorians inspire me to the point of frenzy. Tennyson’s poems especially drive me almost into a trance. I’m not exaggerating if I say that after Shakespeare, he taught me, still teaches me, all I need to know about the power of words.
Tennyson recovered awareness of the strength of Old English, which had been softened by the influence of Latin, (mainly through the imposition of French after the Norman invasion of 1066), and reminded us of the power of alliteration (repetition of consonant sounds), and assonance (repetition of vowel sounds), kennings (Old English type of metaphor), imagery, and symbolism to shock our brains into understanding intangible, ethereal feelings.
I had always loved Tennyson’s poems, but it was not until I had the privilege of teaching Old English poetry at the University of Córdoba for a time, using mostly Tennyson’s translations into modern English, that I fully understood his masterful use of the English language.
He recovered Medieval tales in poems like the Lady of Shallot, and The Holy Grail. He also translated many Old English Poems into Modern English, leading to a renewed interest in the core of the English Language.
Tennyson reminded us of the power of our roots and the essence of the English Language.
This is one of his most well known short poems, and one of my favourites. You could call it a Flash Poem!
He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.
The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.
It’s a Riddle, a kenning, and it contains the dramatic use of assonance and alliteration, which is so representative of Old English / Anglo-Saxon poetry. 6 lines and 39 words were never so full of powerful language and literary history. I bow to My Master.
Hear Andrew Motion read some of his poems.
Statue of Lord Tennyson in the chapel of Trinity College, Cambridge.