First World War Poetry Digital Archive

In Spite

IN SPITE by ROBERT GRAVES

I now delight, In spite Of the might And the right Of classic tradition, In writing And reciting Straight ahead, Without let or omission, Just any little rhyme In any little time That runs in my head; Because, I've said, My rhymes no longer shall stand arrayed Like Prussian soldiers on parade That march, Stiff as starch, Foot to foot, Boot to boot, Blade to blade, Button to button, Cheeks and chops and chins like mutton. No! No! My rhymes must go Turn 'ee, twist 'ee, Twinkling, frosty, Will-o'-the-wisp-like, misty; Rhymes I will make Like Keats and Blake And Christina Rossetti, With run and ripple and shake. How petty To take A merry little rhyme In a jolly little time And poke it, And choke it, Change it, arrange it, Straight-lace it, deface it, Pleat it with pleats, Sheet it with sheets Of empty conceits, And chop and chew, And hack and hew, And weld it into a uniform stanza, And evolve a neat, Complacent, complete, Academic extravaganza!

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