Wednesday, March 19, 2008

7/4 and terza rima

Turns out I like 7/4 time and terza rima. Terza rima has been sinking in since I read Clive James' "To Prue Shaw: A letter from Cambridge" for the first time in about 2005. 7/4 time struck me today, listening to Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill". I was thinking, when God walks in and says "grab your things, I've come to take you home", what do you grab. Then I got to the last verse and "you can keep my things, they've come to take me home", but that doesn't quite work for me. Do you leave everything behind or do you take something back with you? So I'm still asking - what do you grab. What's the thing you try to forget last? Never heard Solsbury Hill and don't know what I'm on about with 7/4 time? There's a video at:
Try counting the beat (1, 2, 3, 4) and you'll find you have to count to 7.

Never heard of terza rima or Prue Shaw? Here's the beginning. Watch the rhyme structure and feel the delicious run ons!

I miss you. As I settle down to write,
Creating for my forearm room to rest,
I see the hard grey winter evening light
Is scribbled on with lipstick in the west
As just another drowsy Cambridge day
Discreetly shines and shyly looks its best
Before, with eyeballs glazed, it slides away
And slips into a night's sleep deeper still,
Where Morpheus holds undisputed sway
Throughout the weary academic mill -
An atmosphere of cosy somnolence
I hope that I can summon up the will
To counteract. I'm striving to condense
Within the terza rima my ideas
Concerning us, the arts and world events...

(this continues for about 300 lines)
from Clive James "The Book of My Enemy" (2003, Picador)


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