This week I'll be running a series of poems by writers far better known for their prose.
(Poem #179) Missed
The sun in the heavens was beaming, The breeze bore an odour of hay, My flannels were spotless and gleaming, My heart was unclouded and gay; The ladies, all gaily apparelled, Sat round looking on at the match, In the tree-tops the dicky-birds carolled, All was peace -- till I bungled that catch. My attention the magic of summer Had lured from the game -- which was wrong. The bee (that inveterate hummer) Was droning its favourite song. I was tenderly dreaming of Clara (On her not a girl is a patch), When, ah, horror! there soared through the air a Decidedly possible catch. I heard in a stupor the bowler Emit a self-satisfied 'Ah!' The small boys who sat on the roller Set up an expectant 'Hurrah!' The batsman with grief from the wicket Himself had begun to detach -- And I uttered a groan and turned sick. It Was over. I'd buttered the catch. O, ne'er, if I live to a million, Shall I feel such a terrible pang. From the seats on the far-off pavilion A loud yell of ecstasy rang. By the handful my hair (which is auburn) I tore with a wrench from my thatch, And my heart was seared deep with a raw burn At the thought that I'd foozled that catch. Ah, the bowler's low, querulous mutter Points loud, unforgettable scoff! Oh, give me my driver and putter! Henceforward my game shall be golf. If I'm asked to play cricket hereafter, I am wholly determined to scratch. Life's void of all pleasure and laughter; I bungled the easiest catch.
Wodehouse, I hope, needs little introduction; however he is not very well known as a poet. And not without reason - his poetry, while beautifully crafted, lacks a certain something. I think part of the problem is that it is crafted; unlike some poets, Wodehouse doesn't really have the knack of making contrived rhymes and complicated constructions work. Somewhat surprising, actually, given the sheer unadulterated genius of his prose, though it may very well be that the selfsame prose has led me to judge this little piece too harshly. Still, it is a pretty enough poem, if not a 'great' one, and well worth the read.  and if he does, do yourself a favour and read some of his sublime and ridiculous novels - I recommend 'Joy in the Morning'. Biography: Wodehouse, Sir P.G. b. Oct. 15, 1881, Guildford, Surrey, Eng. d. Feb. 14, 1975, Southampton, N.Y., U.S. in full PELHAM GRENVILLE WODEHOUSE, English-born comic novelist, short-story writer, lyricist, and playwright, best known as the creator of Jeeves, the supreme "gentleman's gentleman." He wrote more than 90 books and more than 20 film scripts and collaborated on more than 30 plays and musical comedies. Wodehouse was educated at Dulwich College, London, and, after a period in a bank, took a job as a humorous columnist on the London Globe (1902) and wrote freelance for many other publications. After 1909 he lived and worked for long periods in the United States and in France. He was captured in France by the Germans in 1940 and spent much of the war interned in Berlin. In 1941 he made five radio broadcasts from there to the United States in which he humorously described his experiences as a prisoner and subtly ridiculed his captors. His use of enemy broadcasting facilities evoked deep and lasting resentment in Britain, however, which was then practically under siege by Germany. After the war Wodehouse settled in the United States, becoming a citizen in 1955. He was knighted in 1975. Wodehouse began by writing public-school stories and then light romances. It was not until 1913 (in Something New; published in England as Something Fresh, 1915) that he turned to the farce, which became his special strength. He had a scholar's command of the English sentence. He delighted in vivid, far-fetched imagery and in slang. His plots are highly complicated and carefully planned. Whatever the dates of publication of his books, Wodehouse's English social atmosphere is of the late Edwardian era. The young bachelor Bertie Wooster and his effortlessly superior manservant, Jeeves, were still together, their ages unadvanced, in Much Obliged, Jeeves (1971), though they first appeared in a story in The Man with Two Left Feet (1917). -- EB Links: There's a P.G.Wodehouse appreciation page at <[broken link] http://www.smart.net/~tak/wodehouse.html> with a lot of other nice links hanging off it. A few more of his poems can be found at <[broken link] http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/2012/poems/wodeh01.html>