Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Sonnet 14

Sonnet 14 has as its target a certain particularly coarse kind of rage which seems lately to have overtaken political discourse on the left of the spectrum. I'm thinking particularly of
(i) the anti-semitism controversy which Livingstone & Galloway and more recently Corbyn have got caught up in;
and, perhaps more immediately of
(ii) the reaction of many Remainers to the Brexit vote, and the bullying and coercive tones adopted by Remainers, which - and here's my theory - drove Leavers underground. This explanation accounts quite well for the surprising nature of the result; call this the 'quiet leaver' explanation.
Anyway, without further ado, here's the work in question.

Sonnet 14
Your face inflamed with that bottomless rage,
that fashionable nihilism quite bereft
of moderation or respect for age:
the ranting coarseness of the modern left.
There’s more decorum in the ape-house yet
than iv’ry towers in defence of Mao.
Fly to your eco-conference by jet,
and do not ask the little people how
your cosmopolitan outlook’s at odds
with their quotidian reality:
the shop-workers, the carriers of hods;
to you, of course, utmost banality,
something to rant about in Stokes Croft bars
while buying the coke and ordering the cars.

Sonnet 14 has a Shakespearean rhyme scheme:- abab cdcd efef gg. Regarding the volta, I would hesitate to say that it's in its traditional place at line 9. In fact, I wouldn't go so far as to say that there is one, although there are a couple of shifts in tone. So ... not entirely orthodox in every way, but at least it's in iambic pentameter and has one of the orthodox rhyme schemes.

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