Saturday, October 01, 2005

Ranty Rant Rant

Worst line of poetry I've ever heard:

I feel the romantic presence of the now.

Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather, if that feather was attached to a sack of concrete blocks. A poet talking about their feelings? That never happens. As you know, poets are delicate, sensitive beings and the one thing we can never hear enough about is exactly how delicate and sensitive they are.

One is struck by the care with which this line has been crafted: "I", "feel", "romantic", "presence", "now". Ah, there are five of my most favourite words in the English language, apart from all the other ones. It's genius, really - the poet starts by talking about themselves, and it just keeps on getting worse.
It's also striking how pointless these words seem when put together in this combination. They don't mean anything. How can "the now" ever be "romantic"? Why the fuck talk about "the now", anyway, when it's just a pretentious way of saying "this present moment"? Since there is no obvious scansion or rythmn in the line, the only reason I can see for this is that the poet wanted to avoid looking like a fool by saying, "I feel the romantic presence of this present moment."

Even the prepositions are degraded by inclusion. "The" and "of" are fine words on their own, but in this sentence, they become absolutely toxic. It's only a matter of time before some idiot poet comes along and writes a poem that is made completely out of prepositions. Perhaps it's already happened.

But let's end on a positive note. This line of poetry, I feel, could be improved by a simple edit. Replace the words "I", "Feel", "The", "Romantic", "Presence", "Of", "The", "Now" with eight other words. Any other words. Then again, they could simply be edited out altogether. Silence is golden, my fellow poet. Silence is golden.

Feel free to suggest alternative ways of editing this line in comments. Or maybe leave some poetry of your own. Go on, don't be shy.


Vikki said...

This line must have been written by the same person who wrote "Can you feel the love tonight."

Yuck. Icky ick.

TimT said...

Actually, I met the person who wrote this at a poetry competition last year. For some reason, that stuck in my head (why is it the bad lines that get stuck in my head?) And I totally should have won that poetry competition. Am I just posting this because I'm bitter? Nooooooo!

rachy said...

then what, in the name of God, made you think of it today?!

As for a redoing of that line, it really does sound like a drugged or pretentious person is trying to elucidate a very simple emotion,

"I want that one"

vague said...

"I feel the presence of a shiv in my kidney."

TimT said...

What made me think of it today? I wanted an excuse to hang the line, "you could have knocked me over with a feather, if that feather was ... " etc, etc, on.

I hope your kidney is alright, Vague. I wouldn't like to have a shiv in my kidney. You never know what those shivs can do to you.

rachy said...

well that feather line is definitely a good one...

And I had to google shiv to discover it was a type of weapon, because I kept thinking why would a Hindu god be trapped in someone's kidney? I think I'll most likely have a slow day today

The Flea said...

Seriously Tim, you need your own daily rant in a national newspaper or something. Your cynical eye never doesn't miss a thing.

TimT said...

Your cynical eye never doesn't miss a thing.

And I hope it never won't.

Email: timhtrain - at -

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