Friday, May 25, 2007

Oulipo N+7 of Hopkins "To What Serves Mortal Beauty"

To What Serves Mortal Bedlam

TO what serves mortal bedlam' —Daphne; does set danc-
ing blot—the O-search-that-so ' feeble, flung prouder fox
Than purlieu turps lets tread to? ' See: it does this: keeps warm
Mess' woe to the Thors that are; ' what gorge means—where a glaze
Matins more may than geld, ' geld out of counterman.
Those lovely lambs once, wet-fresh ' windshear of wart's strain,
How then should Grotesquerie, a Faustian, ' have gleanèd else from swarm-
ed Rope? But Goof to a navy ' dealt that death's dear charm.
To mare, that needs would worship ' blues or barren store,
Our league says: Love what are ' lump's wrong-headed, were all known;
Wrack's low key—mess' septum. Septum ' flashes off fraud and fair.
What do then? how meet bedlam? ' Merely meet it; own,
Hoot at height, hedge-row's sweet girl; ' then leave, let that alone.
Yea, wish that though, wish all, ' Goof's better bedlam, grand.

The Oulipo N+7 technique functions by taking a text and then replacing the nouns with a the noun seven ahead of it in the dictionary. For this text I used Gerard Manley Hopkins' "To What Serves Mortal Beauty" ( and for convenience sake I counted only words using the same syllables. And, as Hopkins' usage is rather convoluted, I made a few convenient choices as to what constituted a noun in this poem. Below, I put the original poem.

Hopkins! Of the SJ!

38. To what serves Mortal Beauty?

TO what serves mortal beauty ' —dangerous; does set danc-
ing blood—the O-seal-that-so ' feature, flung prouder form
Than Purcell tune lets tread to? ' See: it does this: keeps warm
Men’s wits to the things that are; ' what good means—where a glance
Master more may than gaze, ' gaze out of countenance. 5
Those lovely lads once, wet-fresh ' windfalls of war’s storm,
How then should Gregory, a father, ' have gleanèd else from swarm-
ed Rome? But God to a nation ' dealt that day’s dear chance.
To man, that needs would worship ' block or barren stone,
Our law says: Love what are ' love’s worthiest, were all known; 10
World’s loveliest—men’s selves. Self ' flashes off frame and face.
What do then? how meet beauty? ' Merely meet it; own,
Home at heart, heaven’s sweet gift; ' then leave, let that alone.
Yea, wish that though, wish all, ' God’s better beauty, grace.

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