Monday, March 23, 2009

Beatles Song of the Week

Cur non in via futuemus?
Cur non in via futuemus?
Cur non in via futuemus?
Nemo nos videbit,
Cur non in via futuemus?

A Sonnet

Towards the end of the Middle Ages, the sonnet came into being. Started by Petrarch, it was taken up by English poets in the 16th and 17th century.
 This is my best attempt at a sonnet.  The subject matter is 20th century and I probably do not have the iambic pentameter right.  The rhyme scheme is questionable too but I like it.  I hope you enjoy it too.
By the way, my posting it here does not mean I give up any rights as a writer.

This Is Not Lady Chatterly's Lover

Metal beams surrounded us instead of trees,
On the day that I first beheld your torso,
And I did not fall shaken to my knees
My astonishment was all the more so.
Sadly, your skin was not alabaster white,
Cause for that you had far too much body hair,
Yet I wanted to have you to my despite,
And a fit of trembling took me then and there. 
No washtub there, no sunlight gleaming,
I did not come upon you unawares,
No water down your chest was streaming 
Yet you drew from me much more than stares.
And if I am not poet, I'll tell you what,
It's because Oliver Parkin you were not.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Marg and Joan

      This will be my last post on Margery Kempe for a while.  Margery did the key pilgrimages of her time:  she went to Rome, Jerusalem, Canterbury and Santiago.  Since Santiago sounds like a great trip to make even today, I was curious as to how it went in the Middle Ages but Margery went by ship to Santiago, she did not walk from France. This is disappointing to say the least and she said very little about Santiago.  This made me curious as to why, when the point of the pilgrimage is to do penance which you perform by taking this grueling hike across Europe, she sailed there and back again.
      She took this trip in about 1417, when she was approximately 44 and Henry V was on the throne in England.   This trip would have taken place about two years after Agincourt when Henry was preparing to invade France in the later stages of the Hundred Years War.  Margery mentions how difficult it was to secure a ship because most available boats were being used elsewhere.  So she did not want to walk through territory that was a battlefield but the route along the northern coast of Spain was clear as there was relative peace at that time.
     Her pilgrimage to Rome and Jerusalem took place before this and she went to Jerusalem through Germany and probably came back that way as she returned in about 1415 and one would not want to be an Englishwoman having a stroll through France while the English are attacking.
     About this time, another woman who was famous for hearing voices was born - Joan of Arc.   The fact that one of the reasons that Joan was accused of heresy was her insistence on wearing men's clothing shows how dangerous it was for Margery to wear white although she had been forbidden to repeatedly.  At Joan's trial, she insisted that she wore men's clothing to preserve her chastity, a reason that was permissible under canon law but Joan was being tried by the English factions and logic would not save her. 
     Margery lived another twelve years, perhaps more, after Joan died.  It is interesting to note that Joan's brief life fell within Margery's.   If Joan was born in 1412, then she was only 19 when she died in 1431.  Margery did not mention her at all in her biography.  It is a shame.  If they understood each other's language, they would have had much to say to one another.  Since they were both on speaking terms with Jesus, surely he would have sat down with them and translated.