Sunday, 7 August 2011

On Congruency and Perfect Words

00:39:00 Posted by Damp incendiary device , , , , , , , , , 2 comments

by David Riley

Let’s start with a story. A woman marries a prince who almost immediately begins to behave oddly. The woman also begins to act strangely before she escapes and dies in a suspicious accident. Her funeral is a contested affair between her relatives and the Royal family; the woman’s husband and her brother have a serious fight.

Sound familiar? Several people have noticed one thing – the similarity between the fate of Princess Diana and the plot of Hamlet.

Did that give you a shiver? It did me when I was first brought to see it, not only for the congruency but the fact that a poet several hundred years ago could encapsulate such key aspects of human nature that bind us across time and space.

Lines can make you shiver too. Edward Thomas does it to me; in his prose work, August (among many others) he gives a final twist at the end that makes you go, “Ahhh.” I hope you get chance to look it up. You will shiver in delight.

When he took to writing poetry it just unlocked further that ability to expose the archetypes that are always there, waiting to be seen. Perfect words became strung out diamonds on a line, showing us, in the everyday there is another world. It still happens and poetry still does its job. From Yeats to poems on the underground you just need to raise your gaze to be transported to stand amid somebody’s dreams.

And best of all you can join in. Take that small toolkit of rhyme and metre, rhythm and diction and see where it takes you. Enjoy the sound and the feel of words rubbing up against you and look out for how you can make people shiver.

“A first blow that could make air of a wall.”




Ashley R Lister said...


Thanks for joining us here at the Dead Good Blog. The one line in a book that most made me shiver was in Jay Anson's 1977 book, Amityville Horror.

I'd been terrified by all the horrific 'events' in every chapter I'd read. Then I turned the page to a new chapter which read, 'The next day was worse...'

I never bothered reading anything further in that book. Thanks for evoking such tingly memories.


vicky ellis said...

I think I would attribute the feeling that you get at the end of August with a shiver. It's that pleasurable shiver, recognition of our part in the big picture. Any writer who can capture that feeling and sow the idea that life is to be treasured is worthy of accolade.

An insightful take on shivers, thank you :)