I'm now going to look at the same poem but in the style of 'The Hill Wife'. As I do so, I notice those features which aren't so typical of Frost. The long/short pattern of line lengths. The rhyme - and the way ignores it in the second verse. It is quite sparse in detail compared to many of Frost's poems but it reminds me of Stopping by Woods because that too avoids detail.
So here is the man from the Orkney Interior, sitting by his fire. Alone but content, it seems. (It occurs to me that there is something Orcadian about this ability - the ability to be quiet and alone and not crave noise and company.)
It was right for him there All alone By the stove, shifting his chair On the stone
Floor closer to the fire Of fish...
I realise I have gone a step further than I intended and rhymed 1 and 3 also. Should I try to maintain that or not? If it gets in the way, I'll abandon it.
Inside the smell of dried fish. Outside The crescent moon in the blank of night. Inside the click of crab pincers. Outside No-exit lobster pots, nets, traps.
Inside, the clock, the wireless, the claw. Outside Potato rows mulched with sea-weed. Inside, the salt sea in saucers. Outside The rock pool, a small shivering moon.
I've added the potatoes, but set them outside rather than in the old man's ears and mulched them with seaweed - because I felt like it. I'm going back to IHF's poem to see if I want to add a third verse. At the moment, I don't think I do.
I’ve been re-reading some of the poems set for AS with a
home / house / interior theme and one of the questions I asked was whether any
of the poems could be re-written in the style of another poem from the group. I
am reminded at this point of the game in ‘I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue’ where a
panellist has to sing the lyrics of one song to the tune of another.
Having raised the question, I’m now intrigued. And I don’t like to set challenges which I’m
not prepared to try myself…
So, my first attempt is to consider Finlay’s surreal poem
and see if there is any way it might be ‘translated’ into MacNiece’s very
spare, clipped style.
Indoors the smell of dried fish. Outdoors
The crescent moon in the blank of night.
Indoors the click of crab pincers. Outdoors
The sea of lobster pots…
Perhaps ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ would be better and keep the
connection without sounding quite so much like the original. I’d like to keep some sense of the character’s
locked away feelings. The lobsters imprisoned in the lobster traps?