Saturday, March 26, 2011

Frank Sidgwick's Fourteen Word Sonnet (Accidental Poetry Month, Part 17)

In contrast to most of the poems I've posted during Accidental Poetry Month™ (although not, to be sure, all of them) this is a poem I've known (indeed, known by heart (not hard)) for years. Sadly, I rarely remember its author (doing the poor fellow no justice), but his name is Frank Sidgwick, and you can find more about him in this obituary here -- hosted by (somewhat randomly) the site of The Baker Street Irregulars, since Sidgwick apparently is also the author of what they describe as a "groundbreaking essay" in the form of an open letter to Dr. Watson. Who knew.

I first read this poem in the introduction to an anthology called something like The Sonnet, but it was originally collected in a 1921 book of Frank Sidgwick's poems called More Verse; you'll find it there on page 47.
The Aeronaut to his Lady



-- Frank Sidgwick

I don't have the book handy, so I might be wrong; but my memory is that the anthology where I originally read this poem quotes it only in the introduction, and says that it is "clearly intended to be a sonnet" -- far too much hesitation, as it happens, since in More Verse it's published as the second of a little collection called "Two Sonnets": Sidgiwck meant it as a sonnet, tout court, and I think he's not wrong to consider it such.

I'd quote the other of the pair, but frankly it's not nearly as charming as "The Aeronaut to His Lady" -- not nearly as charming as it's trying to be. If you want to read it, click through to the book and have a look for yourself; but I wouldn't particularly recommend it. Sidgwick's Aeronaut, on the other hand, is a keeper.

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