Saturday, December 11, 2004

The Weather Report

When I'm out jogging in the mornings, odd thoughts run through my head. Today I was thinking about Elmore Leonard's rules for writing. Isn't one of them that you never start off with the weather report? Anyway, as soon as I thought of that, the first eight or ten lines of John Keats' "The Eve of St. Agnes" popped into my head. (Hey, I can't help it. I used to be an English teacher.) This is a poem I've read and discussed dozens of times. It's about magic and dreams and love, and, of course, the weather. The poem begins with one of the great weather reports in all of poetry:

ST. AGNES’ Eve—Ah, bitter chill it was!
The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold;
The hare limp’d trembling through the frozen grass,
And silent was the flock in woolly fold:
Numb were the Beadsman’s fingers, while he told
His rosary, and while his frosted breath,
Like pious incense from a censer old,
Seem’d taking flight for heaven, without a death . . . .

Luckily for you I can't remember any more. But you have to admit that it classes up the old blog quite a bit. I mean, John Keats never even thought about writing a Gold Medal original.

1 comment:

Frank Denton said...

Aw, the old quote the poem schtick. I used it myself not too long ago. Nice to know that others remember lines of poems when the right context comes along.