Operum Odyssei

Augustus FitzRoy 4 February 2021
Ennui (1914) by Walter Richard Sickert

And then he asked the risky line,
Of which he’d grown so fearful,
But as he spoke, he turned and fled,
Frightened and so tearful.

Roger was a sharp young man,
If not always on his game,
Although he often had a plan,[1]
results were e’rytime the same:

He didn’t intend to play the fool,
(having greater parts in mind)[2]
But when the casting moment came,
Fate to him was not so kind.[3]

For when the crucial moment came,[4]
And he recalled his given lines.
The discoloured entrails of the crow
Was just the first of the warning signs.[5]


[1] The amusing irony is that although “man” and “plan” are associated via the rhyme scheme, Roger is in fact a homo sine consilio
[2] Eliot T.S. The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock “No I am not Prince Hamlet…”
[3] A greater poet would likely embark on a serious personification of ‘fate’. However, lacking such a direct path to Mount Helicon, our poet has chosen to leave his characterisation at this brief, but pithy moment, fully expecting the reader to have Vergil’s image fixed in their mind’s eye.
[4] This repetition is not accidental but an obvious reference to the habits of Homer and a tribute to the rich oral tradition of folk verse.
[5] A charming reference to the practices of Roman augurs.
[6] Like the Aeneid, our poet has felt that the best objets d’art are left unfinished.