Friday, October 15, 2010
"Love's Young Dream" by Roddy Lumsden
In the past few months I've been tumbling through a lot of poetry, both on my own and with the guidance of online readers, but this poem is the first and only to knock me down -- to bring me back three times to listen to it again. It was love. It still is. Young love is the best, I hear, and though I still hold out for 65-year-old love too, I have no choice at this point but to agree with the common sentiment.
The poem is called "Love's Young Dream" and it is here read by a man who calls himself simply SpokenVerse, a prolific and fairly popular Youtuber. The poet is Roddy Lumsden, a modernday Scotsman who... well, one gets the feeling he may have knocked on fame's door at one point -- been featured in a few "Up and Coming" lists in the eighties and nineties -- but has since then taken a misturn into that vilest of purgatories, relative obscurity. I don't know the reason, of course -- fame is fickle, etc., etc. -- but from where I stand I can say this: That's a damn shame. From what little I know, he is a man capable of crafting clever and well-constructed poetry. Many of his best poems seem to have a solid, even high-born concept behind them, which Lumsden manages to pull off with what I humbly call decent poetic mechanics.
In "Love's Young Dream" the theme is cliches, those "trite or overused expressions," those ever-scorned foundation stones of the English and perhaps every language. The narrator is in love with -- or, in our callously modern tongue, has a thing for -- a girl. A girl about whom we know very little, except that she is a "snow ball's chance in hell," a long shot, way out of his league. For all we know she could be Debbie Harry, but the important thing is he asks her out and she shows up... "And there with her giving me the wink,/The Jewish pope, the constipated bear." Throughout the narrator speaks almost exclusively in cliches -- and he is acutely conscious of it. So he ends the poem with that cute little number just above... Always people are asking "Is the pope Catholic?" and "Does a bear shit in the woods?" and in this case anyways, the answer is "No! Absolutely not."
In the comments section of the video (click on the video up there to visit its Youtube page and then scroll down to see the comments) a person calling himself Roddy Lumsden had this to say: "Nice to know some like this poem - I barely (bearly?) recall writing it - it came fast and was written in Edinburgh, probably in 1996. Not a poem I still have any attachment too, though witty in its way." He also corrects a mistake by the reader: "Also, it's six-one-fives, not six-fifteens - which is needed for the rhyme scheme." So that clears that up, though what "six-one-fives" -- and "gio" for that matter -- are I can't even imagine. Suffice to say, I guess, that one usually creases the first and splashes on the second.
Posted by Abe