Sunday, March 21, 2010


My dear Puffin,

You may have noticed The Poetess a couple of weeks back published her ripening metrically-faithful interpretation of Horace's Soracte ode. The particular meter used here is known as "Alcaic", whereon wikipedia absurdly declares
"The Alcaic stanza is a Greek lyrical meter, an Aeolic verse form traditionally believed to have been invented by Alcaeus, a lyric poet from Mytilene ... ".
That may all be well and good from a literary-historical point of view, but it doesn't come anywhere close to the True Meaning of Alcaic!

My own research has shown that the latinized "Alcaeus" was in fact a nick-name (much as Plato was so-called for his broad, flattened face), sprung from the multiple inspirations of his fondness for an adopted and very lost Thick-Billed Murre --- no doubt blown off-course during a late Etruscan-Era hurricane --- and his own odd waddling gait, which so resembled that of his bird, and which was mirrored in some of his more-forgotten verses. (compare the suggestion that Beethoven's rhythmic experimentation was partly driven by the sound of his own irregular heart-beat, due to his undiagnosed lead poisoning).

The name his fellows gave this bird and the poet was initially "alkon", which resounds in our present day "awkward" (fr. O.E. "aukgard"), while murres and relatives are nowadays known collectively as alcidae. Anyways, it's a charming meter, and none the worse for its feathery origins. After all, all of creation declares the greatness of the Lord!

the unapologetic fabulist


/dev/null said...

I don't know why, but that title was starting to seriously bug me. So I changed it. No changing the page file name, though... which would be a particularly good thing if anyone else linked to this page, for then nothing would be broken. I don't believe anything else does link to this page, except the 'blog itself, which is held to a stricture of consistency by the vice-like grip of the blogger database...

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