splendidly silly

Dec 3, 2020 poetry appreciation

It’s always good to have something to raise a smile. On a day like today—it’s dreich and the light has never been off, even at noon—this poem has been doing that for me, its repetitions and rhythms forming the soundtrack for my drippy, muddy morning walk. Join me in delighting in Pound’s delicious parody of ‘Sumer is Icumen in’, simply titled ‘Ancient Music‘.

You can read a tremendously learned article about Pound’s piece here, should you so desire, but I’m not here to say anything erudite. Instead I want to enjoy imagining readers of this column sharing the experience of having ‘Lhude sing Goddamm’ pounding in their brain!

It’s a good-humoured poem for all its irritation, and much of that is generated by the deftness with which Pound takes off the original. His characteristic erudition is put to work here in the service of comedy—sprinkled rather than trowelled on. Marvellous! I find it particularly fun when I sing Pound’s words, rather than just read them, so to help you do so here’s the Hilliard Ensemble doing the original song. I defy you not to enjoy it!

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