Monday, January 30, 2006

The round earth's imagined corners

Okay, you can call off the wake. Despite having not posted for TWO WHOLE DAYS now, I'm not dead and decaying in my own stench, as some of you have helpfully suggested. I have merely been away living it up in Manhattan (I love New York - how can you not adore a city where it's impossible to get a place to sit in a Starbucks at 8:30 am on a Sunday morning? That's what I call civilisation!) and have therefore had neither the space nor time to blog.

At any rate, I had an amazing weekend, which began with a glorious New York Philharmonic concert to commemorate Mozart's 250th (more on that later) and consisted of a string of movies (Antonioni's Blow-up, Ford's The Searchers and the delightful Tristram Shandy) punctuated by, in order: Nasi Goreng, Lemon Zesty Tuna Salad, Chicken Chipotle Burrito and some sushi whose name I can't remember (not to mention chocolate mousse cake at Veniero's accompanied by the find of the weekend - Mexican Coffee - black coffee, kahlua, tequila and whipped cream!). But perhaps the most deliriously happy moment in the whole trip was finding this gem of a Wendy Cope poem in the February issue of Poetry on the train in:

Differences of Opinion



He tells her that the earth is flat -
He knows the facts and that is that.
In altercations fierce and long
She tries her best to prove him wrong.
But he has learned to argue well.
He calls her arguments unsound
And often asks her not to yell.
She cannot win. He stands his ground.

The planet goes on being round.



Your mother knows the earth's a plane
And, challenged, sheds a martyr's tear.
God give her strength to bear this pain -
A child who says the world's a sphere!

Challenged, she sheds a martyr's tear.
It's bad to make your mother cry
By telling her the world's a sphere.
It's very bad to tell a lie.

It's bad to make your mother cry.
It's bad to think your mother odd.
It's very bad to tell a lie.
All this has been ordained by God.

It's bad to think your mother odd.
The world is round. That's also true.
All this has been ordained by God.
It's hard to see what you can do.

The world is round. That must be true.
She's praying, hoping you will change.
It's hard to see what you can do.
Already people find you strange.

She's praying, hoping you will change.
You're difficult. You don't fit in.
Already people find you strange.
You know your anger is a sin.

You're difficult. You don't fit in.
God give her strength to bear this pain.
You know your anger is a sin.
Your mother knows the earth's a plane.

- Wendy Cope

p.s. just in case you've never come across one before (or just happened not to notice), the second part is, of course, a pantoum - not quite a perfect one - but the imperfections only add to the charm.

Categories: ,


meditativerose said...

Did I mention I hate you? And Neela?

V cool poems btw. Esp the first ... you know who it should be sent to, right :)

ozymandiaz said...

Have you ever attempted a pantoum? I had one failed attempt many a year ago. The result was ever so contrived as I always considered the idea of it to be. Yet when reading one written by an actual poet, when one is written well, I find the almost idiosyncratic beat intoxicating.

The ramblings of a shoe fiend said...

The second time this week I've come across Wendy Cope's poems on a blog. Lovely!

Neela said...

falstaff: i prob missed this but did you see cache? Also you missed a cool "the Lodger" with live music sunday.

meditative, why me? harmless, lucky, well-fed, NY-inhabiting me?


Falstaff said...

MR: Ya, figured you'd like them. After all, Cope is one of the three poets you've ever read in your life.

Oz: I have indeed - with results pretty much as disastrous as you describe. What amazes me about this one is that it isn't just polished and natural and flowing - it even rhymes!!

Shoe-fiend: Good, good. For my money, the Net can always do with more Cope. What was the other blog, btw?

Neela: No, I haven't yet. Should I?

And errr...the fact that you're harmless, lucky and NY-inhabiting probably goes a long way to explaining MR's antipathy for you. The well-fed is a clever touch, though - it establishes that you have something in common.

Neela said...


yeah, do go and tell me what you think.

also if you can explain it ot me in words of one syllable or less, will be eternally grateful. its one of those annoying movies..


The ramblings of a shoe fiend said...

Here's the link to the other blog

Falstaff said...

Shoe-fiend: Nice. If you want to go for a third, check out

though I wonder if that's entirely coincidence. Veena?

Cheshire Cat said...

How pretty! Just what one would expect from someone named Wendy. I couldn't help wincing at the utter poverty of craft, but then I am just an old sourpuss, amn't I?

Aishwarya said...

This made me ridiculously happy - I have the collection of her poems (If I Don't Know) that the first poem's from.:)

Have you read the banana one? (I've forgotten what it's called, but it starts with the line "My love got in the car/ and sat on my banana")

Anonymous said...

Best regards from NY! Brian havin sex us army dress blues sale pictures of women with shaved armpits Manufacturer of poultry feed supplement Repairing an electrolux vacuum cleaner ru-ru-ru-russian roulette mp3 Dayton ohio realtors

Anonymous said...

That's a great story. Waiting for more. Bennett marine boating basics video Idaho football camps 2006 slot machines for sale in ohio Colonial corner cabinet electronic slot machines hand held Online dental materials catalogue Austin tx wedding announcements invitations Ass gangsters slot+machines Incorporate bermuda Anne frank classroom discussion bonus fun machine play slot Web designer internship Htpc for the projector beets vitamins in buy igt machine slot Baltimore orioles shirts xenical pregnancy Sharp pain in butt slot machines

Buy Levitra said...

Great article! Thanks.

Phentermine said...

Thanks for interesting article.

Anonimous said...

Excellent website. Good work. Very useful. I will bookmark!