Thursday, July 8, 2010

Quantity Genius

Continuing my time theme from the last sonnet, today I gave myself the challenge of writing a sonnet inside 10 minutes. So, while I sat at my son's cello lesson, I wrote this (with 12 seconds to spare!). The theme of it comes from a blog post by Mark McGuinness that I read about how the ratio of great artistic works to mediocre ones, over the centuries, has had more to do with volume than genius (he used Bach as his example). Lesson: churn out more "chip wrappers," as this blogger called them (mediocre works), and you'll churn out more diamonds along the way. I'm counting on it at OpenSourceSonnets!

Quantity Genius
by Gideon Burton

It's said that things of genius occur
when stars align, the muses speak, or some
sublime endowment outward starts to stir--
inevitable what it will become.
And in my moments, I have felt this flow
of grace artistic, everything attuned;
it is the sort of thing one yearns to know --
oh, may it come just once, though late or soon.
But I have heard the masters (such as Bach)
were not so touched by winds of the divine
as they were scribbling just to beat the clock.
For revelations they had little time.
     A masterpiece or two more likely comes
     by massing many pieces, one by one.

Feel free to copy, imitate, remix, or redistribute this poem as long as you give proper acknowledgment of authorship. Photo: flickr - Cross Duck