It's a rather unsavory subject to begin a blog with but....
Returning from my afternoon run yesterday I reached the home stretch and promptly stuck my foot down a pothole in the road, severely twisting my right ankle. It was a classic, top-drawer, Norman Wisdom moment. I'm not adverse to such comedy moments - I did the left ankle about six months ago as I rallied towards the baseline during a game of tennis, trod on a stray tennis ball and ended up in a heap on the ground.
In a shameless attempt to milk as much sympathy as I can from the tragic events of yesterday afternoon and for general amusement, I am posting a picture of the remains of my right foot below. Be warned! It ain't pretty!
'Plates of meat' (cockney rhyming slang for 'feet')
The upside of being confined to the house for a few days has been in tackling the towering Colossus - a stack of books that lie gathering dust on the bedside table. Among them, a volume of Wilfred Owen poetry.
Iambic Pentameter wasn't Shakespeare's domain alone and has, of course, been the lifeblood of English poetry for the past 700 years or so - Chaucer, Dryden, Pope, Wordsworth, Keats, Tennyson, Yeats, Browning, Frost and Wilfred Owen...but for many, Shakespeare's use of the meter remains unparalleled.
For me, Owen gives The Bard a run for his money.
During that brief period between January 1917, when he was first sent to the Western Front and his death in November 1918, Owen reached an emotional and spiritual maturity which he brought to bear on a body of work that to my mind, quite simply represents some of the finest poetry ever written.
His mastery of prosody is sublime. His use of iambic pentameter, enjambment, caesura, quite flawless. His employment of consonance, in particular the use of full consonance in poems such as Strange Meeting, I find extraordinary.
In my own writings, I am currently attempting (rather poorly it has to said) a double Villanelle written in iambic pentameter. The modern exemplar and probably the most famous Villanelle belongs to Dylan Thomas (Do not go gentle into that good night).
As I grapple clumsily with the form, I can only marvel at the likes of Shakespeare, Owen and Thomas, their use of language and mastery of prosodic form and structure.