In Keep The Aspidistra Flying (which I seem to have gone on about a lot recently) Gordon Comstock is writing a poem. London Pleasures. His magnum opus, one destined to remain unfinished and a contributor to his poverty. It was designed to be a 2000 words stanza about London, about the working class’ life and death and about the very city itself. It works masterfully as both a narrative device, going some way towards explaining his motivations, and keeping him in his current poverty. It also forms part of the introduction, enabling Orwell to describe the small fragment of the city Gordon can see from the window of the bookshop. The first stanza we read goes:
‘Sharply the menacing wind sweeps over
The bending poplars, newly bare,
And the dark ribbons o the chimneys
Veer downward; flicked by wisps of air,
Torn posters flutter.’
Of course, because this is an Orwellian character, he soon decides that it is worthless; that its ‘click-clack’ mechanical emptiness was the ‘last nodding of a clockwork doll’.
When we start the novel, Orwell has been working on London Pleasures for two years and has barely got anywhere. Well, at the minute, I am understanding the conception of poverty; though in such a modern way that I still retain access to a computer, a bed, my books, food, even an Xbox.
Poetry is not an area within which I can make any claim to talent. Any rhyming scheme I can conjure is a fool’s ramblings; I would kill for Orwell’s ‘click-clack’. But, I suppose, part of the pleasure of writing on this thing is simply that I challenge myself. That is often the purpose of these ‘literary experiments’ I so often undergo.
So I’m going to give poetry a whirl! I’m giving myself a week; starting Monday, to write poetry. Whatever it is, whatever it turns out to be, it will be thrown on here for the ravenous creatures of the internet to devour and dissect with their dancing fingertips and sluggish brains. Perhaps I might even post it randomly on one of those sites I despise, like Reddit, for truly obscene responses.