The Thinking Quill

Face the front, class and present your fingernails for inspection.

Moonbeam Farquhar Metheringham IV is in the room. Your beloved pedagogue has arrived. For those, newly joined here, whose education may have skipped over the genius that is one, I am the orchidaceous creator of that classic of superlative speculative fiction ‘Fatswhistle and Buchtooth’, and the selfless purveyor of wisdom whose tablets of stone bring you ‘The Thinking Quill’ – wherein one strives against almost overwhelming odds to bring to your dreary little scribblings some iota of the polished grandeur of one’s own published words.

It’s a lovely autumn day, and the crispy, crunchy leaves make your Teacher think of the golden flakes in his breakfast bowl, drenched with icy-cold milk. We were, if memory serves, going to discuss the essential points of cover art, but my mood is too lightsome for such an arduous task today and my spirit is too refined to be constrained by such febrile chains of commitment. In brief, I can’t be arsed.

Instead, we shall touch upon a topic so close to my soul as to be all but embedded in my skin. Yes, my children, rejoice, rejoice. Today we shall speak of verse…

Lesson 12. The Write Wrhyme

Oh what joy it is to write in the iambic pentameter. Oh how one’s soul rejoices at the birth of a sonnet. How the haiku spears one’s very vitals, and how the execution of the perfect marriage of rhyme and metre donates a pleasure as visceral as masturbation.

We shall begin with the haiku. Hands up if any child in the class can tell me what this exquisite word connotes.

Yes. The rule of seventeen. What joy. What bliss.

A flower petal
 Weighted down under raindrops
 Visceral delight

The purity of oriental form within that which enriches the soul must be expressed in seventeen syllables. Five. Seven. Five. With nary a drop wasted. The distillate of overwhelming emotion into a corseted form that screams of pain and coercion. Think, thou of forcing the white wobbliness of English thighs into the snug elastication of skinny jeans. Feel that pain, but think of the sculpted beauty that emerges from the chrysalis of dimpled flesh and apply that sharp constriction to your work.

Too difficult? Do not fret, mes petites, haiku is the quintessence of the poetic form and not a plaything for the amateur.

Very well. Let us look instead at rhyme and metre.

Hibiscus bloom of palest pink
 I have not words, I have not ink
 To speak of love’s bepetalled face
 Watch from afar who walks in grace
 Who walks in beauty as the dawn
 Who in my breast true love doth spawn
 Who shines like effervescent gold
 Who shall not wither, nor grow old
 Hibiscus bloom thy petals ope
 And face the sun and dash my hopes
 Hibiscus bloom of palest hue
 Who murders hope with lies untrue
 Hibiscus bloom of stainless steel
 Who stamps my love beneath her heel 


Read this, the least of my works, aloud and ponder my skill with the runaway horse that is metre. Admire my virtuosity as I wrestle the alligator of rhyme. Beguile your commonplace little intelligences with the mind-pictures drawn by a pen whose skill you can never hope to emulate. See how the hibiscus blooms in your very soul as you read and envy….

Then try a little verse of your own.

Should you be pleased with your tiny efforts then by all means post them on my Facebook page where I shall be sure to make the effort to read them. If I am not too busy.

Until a sennight. Dormez bien and ecrit bon.

Moonbeam Farquhar Metheringham IV

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