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The Well Read Poem

Dec 13, 2021

In this sixth season of The Well Read Poem, we will read a number of examples of classic satire in verse. English poetry is particularly rich in satire, and we will take a close look at some of the best instances of literary mockery that the past several centuries have bequeathed to us. Some of these are playfully teasing, while
others are deliberately savage. All of them taken together, I trust, will provide a happy introduction to the fine art of verbal annihilation. Today’s poem is "A Sonnet (Two Voices Are There)" by James Kenneth Stephenson. Poem begins at timestamp 3:51.

A Sonnet (Two Voices Are There)

by James Kenneth Stephenson

Two voices are there: one is of the deep;
It learns the storm-cloud's thunderous melody,
Now roars, now murmurs with the changing sea,
Now bird-like pipes, now closes soft in sleep:
And one is of an old half-witted sheep
Which bleats articulate monotony,
And indicates that two and one are three,
That grass is green, lakes damp, and mountains steep:
And, Wordsworth, both are thine: at certain times
Forth from the heart of thy melodious rhymes,
The form and pressure of high thoughts will burst:
At other times -- good Lord! I'd rather be
Quite unacquainted with the A.B.C.
Than write such hopeless rubbish as thy worst.