Saturday, August 14, 2010

The St. Ann Choir gets literary immortality with a sonnet?

Tonight, I and some members of the St. Ann choir who study Latin together got an email from Cynthia Haven, writer and Stanford blogger. She explained why she is too busy to join the study group at this point, and then she quoted a sonnet written about the St. Ann choir by Vikram Seth, whose novel in Puskinian sonnet form is highly regarded. The exact text that refers the choir is as follows: "He finds the plainsong too uplifting/To concentrate (to his chagrin)/On unoriginal thoughts of sin..."

In case you don't know, plainsong is Gregorian chant.

------- Quote from Cynthia Haven's email-----------------------------
Those of you who follow my blog might have seen my post on Vikram Seth, who began his writing career in Palo Alto/Stanford, and went on to write an acclaimed novel-in-sonnets, The Golden Gate. You might be interested to know (if you don't already) that St. Ann's choir gets a sonnet:

Next morning in the St. Ann Chapel
Ed sinks into the Latin mass.
Although he does his best to grapple
With the degenerate morass
Where his sick soul is doomed and drifting,
He finds the plainsong too uplifting
To concentrate (to his chagrin)
On unoriginal thoughts of sin.
Confession helps to ease the pricking
Of his relentless conscience. Ed
Now rejoins Phil. The deep wine-red
Blood of the olives they were picking
Has left on the white tub a stain,
Dark, inerasable, profane.

So you've achieved a kind of literary immortality.

A bientot,


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