October 18: I'll Never Be A Literary Critic



Because I don't have it in me to drill down on "Ode to the West Wind" the way Wikipedia does. I didn't notice any of the stuff Wikipedia does. I'm just a gross, fleshly reader, I guess. However, never having read it, I was just getting into the mood that was set in the fourth stanza:

If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;
If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee;
A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share
The impulse of thy strength, only less free
Than Thou, O uncontrollable!
Since I miss connecting with the blustery fall weather myself. However, the turn at the end seemed self-aggrandizing:
Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
Like wither’d leaves, to quicken a new birth;
And, by the incantation of this verse,
Scatter, as from an unextinguish’d hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
My words, my precious words. Maybe it's the jealousy of the mediocre against the great, maybe it's my prejudice against artists congratulating themselves for bringing about political change -- a prejudice which being in Hollywood will do much to cultivate -- but Me, The Poet, As Hero brings out a strong "meh" in me.

(Or maybe I just have a prejudice against reckless confidence, since you see reckless confidence = delusion so often. Maybe genius is reckless confidence + talent. )

While I'm being grumpy I will add that "To A Skylark" reminded me of George Herbert somehow, except I like George Herbert better.

YouTube bonus: "Ode To The Summer Wind," by J. Mercer. Video by some dude driving through Santa Barbara County:

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