Tuesday, 14 February 2012

The Course of True Love

If I were to get into the spirit of things, I would probably use today's post to give a cringeworthy guide to writing love scenes, or list the top ten best Valentine's gifts for writers, or detail how a caring and tolerant partner is an essential component of the writerly life.

I'm a cynical sod, however, and don't wish to celebrate Hallmark Day in any other way than to be left alone to get on with stuff, so my only concession to today's occasion is that the title of the following 19th-century poem refers to True Love.

I discovered this anecdote/joke a few months ago, and was impressed by its triumph-of-the-underdog theme and its wry realism. It dates from 1897 and appeared in Judy magazine.

***

I understand that Rudyard Kipling is paid two shillings a word for his poetry,” said the soulful poet to the hard-headed editor. “Now you don't pay me any such price for my poetry.”

I can hardly pay you two shillings, but look here I'll give you two shillings a line for a short poem.”

Next day, the budding poet returned with this:

THE COURSE OF TRUE LOVE
.
I,
John,
Yearns,
Jane
Turns:
Eyes
Meet,
Love
Sweet!
Jane
Stops,
John
Pops.
Both
Wed,—
'Nough
Said.

II.
John
Mad,
Jane
Sad.
Both
Fight;
Sad
Sight!
Whole
Week,
Won't
Speak.
Re-
Course
Di-
vorce.


The Editor counted the lines, paid the money, saying “I'm beaten for once. I thought you were only a poet, but you've got brains.”

**************************

Ah, who am I trying to kid with all this cynicism? Here at Strictly Writing, we really do have something to celebrate, because our very own Caroline Green has been shortlisted in the Romantic Novelists' Association Awards for her wonderful young adult novel, Dark Ride

Caroline's book is up for the Young Adult Romantic Novel Award, and we're all very excited for her as the awards ceremony approaches. Congratulations, Caroline, on such a fab achievement!

12 comments:

Reb Alexander said...

I agree, a great book enjoyed equally by my 13 and my 20 year old daughter. Fingers crossed for the prize!

Fionnuala said...

I LOVE that poem, gonna print it off. And BIG congrats to our Caroline - great news. X

Neil said...

Congratulations and good luck to Caroline!

Derek said...

Congratulations to both Carolines.

One, for the shortlisting, which I hope will be a precursor to greater success.

And the other, for topicality without slopicality!

Lindsay said...

Congratulations Caroline (Green) and yes, I too, like the poem as well as what led to is creation!

Debs Riccio said...

Oh wow, Caroline, what a great achievement - well done - and HAPPY VALENTINE Day everybody <3 xxx

Geraldine Ryan said...

Well done, Caroline! Wishing you all the best luck! And what a great poem!

Hayley N. Jones said...

Love it! I got the Valentine I was hoping for - my car insurance renewal quote!

Anonymous said...

Yes, a great book Caroline, good luck.

Sam x

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Bloomin Blogger just wiped my comment.
Congratulations, Caroline and fingers crossed for the final!
And great poem, Caro. My Valentine was an energy bill. :(
Susiex

Roderic Vincent said...

Love the joke, Caro. Hadn't seen that poem before.

And good luck Caroline!

Caroline Green said...

Argh! I somehow missed this post. Thanks so much everyone and I too love the poem! Xx