Back in March I wrote something about the poet Norman Cameron - see Mongoose Civique.
Recently the Times Literary Supplement published a poem discovered by Cameron's executors after his death in 1964, and entirely new to me. Here it is:
Zombie-like . . .
Andrew McCulloch, writing in the TLS, notes that 'set out along more conventional lines, it acquires the freshness of a seventeenth-century lyric, sliding musically on its “B” rhyme – “gay”, “obey”, “ways” – into an echoing grave'. He's right:
After Beauty cometh Death.
Ev’ry flower gay
Hath its joyful kingdom lost –
Monarch none obey.
Pleading Queens reluctant shall
Tumble unto viewless ways,
Exiles yearning zombie-like . . .
McCulloch adds that the last line may be deliberately clumsy 'to turn a jest into something less easy to accept.'
I don't think I've ever come across a poem that employs the 26 consecutive letters of the alphabet as a structural rule - although I expect it's the type of thing that the Oulipians toss off before breakfast. It's a fun sort of constraint, and more easily done in prose:
Damn. Not easily done in prose.