Saturday, January 28, 2006

Birthday Letters: Isn't It Byronic

Birthday Letters: Isn't It Byronic

Such is the oddity of blogging that the next birthday letter comes from someone I 'knew' via the medium of her blog long before I ever met her.

So from Billygean comes a blog of Byronic proportions.

Isn't it Byronic

But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling like dew, upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think;
'Tis strange, the shortest letter which man uses
Instead of speech, may form a lasting link
Of ages; to what straits old Time reduces
Frail man, when paper - even a rag like this - ,
Survives himself, his tomb, and all that's his.
from Don Juan

I was 17 when I first read Byron. I picked up a copy of Don Juan in our school library, after being bullied by Blake and puzzled by Keats, because, since I kept a diary and lit candles a lot, I couldn't possibly not get poetry.

My eyes hurridly scanned the poem. I thought I was literary, but really I was thinking about my physics homework.

"But words are things"

I stopped at this line; it was as if Byron was coaxing me. Words are only things. There is nothing incomprehensible here.

The rythyms picked me up and carried me along, we raced along, falling like dew, thinking, landing on thoughts; I was one of the millions Byron made think. He stopped and elevated - "think;" and I teetered until I mused with him "'tis strange."

And then the rhythms began again; "may form a lasting link of ages." Time guided me lightly to the end of the end of the journey, set me down, breathless and in awe.

Let me tell you, Wordsworth doesn't compare. And he didn't shag his half-sister.

Billygean is an English Finalist and future high-powered Lawyer. You can read more of her blogging on

To read the full set of letters go here.

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