Fragments of the Metropolis

May 29, 2017 |

As the poet-narrator in Europa continues the journey into the third rune, Faux-bourgs, new languages emerge.  These require new metrical structures.  I studied for a long time to discover a suitable metrical shape for ‘Mauer, meaning Wall’.  The metrical structures of Hopkins’ ‘The Wreck of the Deutschland’ are extremely demanding for the English performer.  Consider stanza four from ‘The Wreck’:

                                                       I am soft sift

In an hourglass – at the wall

Fast, but mined with a motion, a drift,

And it crowds and it combs to the fall;

Examination of ‘The Wreck’ reveals that Hopkins uses twelve syllables in the opening line pair; a line length common in French verse.  However, the complexity of reading a twelve-syllable line with an English voice produces the rupture needed to convey that sense of breaching. This anglo-alexandrine forces the reader to move from quick to slow. This is my anglo-alexandrine opening the poem ‘Mauer, meaning Wall’, from the Europa collection:

These are all the fragments of the metropolis,

What becomes of them now is no concern of mine:

Link to Europa at publisher’s web-site 

Posted in: Travels with Charlie in Search of French | Tags: , ,

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