Thursday, June 02, 2005

The Foam Of His Gasping

The Destruction of Sennacherib is a widely anthologized poem - like another such, it's not the best thing ever written, but it's about the best serious anapestic poem in English that I know of. Timothy Steele, a good contemporary poet and author of the excellent book on meter (esp. iambic pentameter) All The Fun's In How You Say A Thing, scans it here.

(For contrast, here's a Robert Browning poem in the opposite meter. The "lost leader" is Wordsworth.)

I took up jogging recently (as noted here) - though I'll have to learn how to convince my bad-knee leg to go along with the program. On the circuit I take in my neighborhood, I pass an intersection that has three hand-written signs with the verses of "The Destruction" on them. When I see the line which the title of this post is drawn from, I wonder if I should slow down. Of course Phidippides famously died after running the first marathon (having just run some 300 miles to Sparta and back from Athens in a failed bid to get troops for the battle of Marathon), but I don't think I've heard of anyone doing that in modern times. The Three Musketeers are always riding their horses to death - maybe another argument for bipedalism.

The signs were posted by students from a nearby girls' school for reasons that only became apparent to me when I mentioned the poem and its author to my beloved. She pointed out that I was running on Byron St.



Anonymous Le Chien Sale said...

Surely you must have only unwittingly excluded "Twas the Night before Christmas" from the top of your list.

4/6/05 21:13  
Blogger rilkefan said...

No, that was on purpose, because anapestic beat-driven rock is the tool of Satan.

4/6/05 21:21  
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