[Texts in Time] Caedmon and his Hymn

Once upon a time (i.e. in the 7th Century), there lived an Anglo-Saxon fellow called Caedmon, who one day decided to play with words in order to praise his God. Finding he liked the sounds of his little creation, he orally passed it on to his friends and family, who also liked it and told all their friends and family. A few decades later, another fellow called Bede ended up liking Caedmon’s Hymn so much that he decided to write it down. And so, one of the earliest recorded poems in the English language was, well, recorded.

Continue reading

[Let’s Get Technical] Poetry and Metre

Poetry is one of those rather elitist things that a lot of people hold in awe, find difficult to understand, and generally tend to avoid (unless they’re forced, usually by an academic institution of some description). One of the main reasons why poetry can be so difficult to grasp and enjoy is because the form has such a high concentration of language, where every word is used for a very particular reason (or so your English teachers keep stressing) and there are just so many different techniques and metaphors and other crazy things going on that you become overwhelmed and want to scream, “Just tell me what you’re trying to say already!” and then give up and never touch anything that has funny line-breaks ever again, and you instantly tense when you see something like this:

Poetry is one of those rather elitist
Things that a lot of people hold
In awe, find difficult to
Understand, and generally
Tend to avoid (unless they’re forced,
usually by an academic institution
of some description).

Continue reading