#ChaucerToo

128d1-chaucerA piece of productive medievalism inspired by the #MeToo movement, and something of a “macaronic” poem, with several sections from Troilus and Criseyde, and one from the Treatise on the Astrolabe. “Congenial” seems a reference to Stephanie Trigg’s 2001 book, Congenial Souls: Reading Chaucer from Medieval to Postmodern; “all too much with us” to William Wordsworth’s poem, “This World Is Too Much With Us”; “rapt” to the Latin word “raptus,” which could mean both “abduct” as well as “rape” (as in the classical narrative surrounding the ‘rape’ of the Sabines), an ambiguity used by some in ‘defense’ of the medieval poet.

#ChaucerToo

I gave you what some call / the best years of my life. / You proffered status, colleagues, jobs, / and plenty sublimated pleasure; / and you felt often like / myn owne brother deere.

I fell in love with your alterity, / words such as aksenqueynte, and briddes, / and lines that spoke about my student friends and me, / That slepen al the nyght with open eye.

You seemed to know a lot of / yonge fresshe folkes, he or she, / asked with Criseyde: kan he wel speke of love? / You seemed to grasp what lovers feel, / how rumor spreads, / and even how to use an astrolabe / compowned for the latytude of Oxenforde.

I liked you less once I had heard / of Cecily Chaumpaigne, / and how you settled out of court. / Played down as ‘incident’ / by the rapt fathers of the field, / I thought it rendered you / all too much with us.

Still: I do read and teach you, / though now you feel a good deal less congenial; / more a reminder of the matters / that still need chaunge, but / not alone in forme of speeche.

Ⓒ Richard Utz

Originally published at: https://richardutz.blogspot.com/2018/04/chaucertoo.html, April 1, 2018. Posted with permission.