On Tue, May 4, 2010 at 1:47 AM, Peter Bleackley <[log in to unmask]> wrote: > staving R A Brown: > >> The ancients were far more conscious of things like sound and rhythm >> than we are. When we hear, for example, a politician speaking, we are >> not likely to be thinking much at all about the arrangement of her/his >> subordinate clauses or of the rhythms of the cadences of his sentences! >> If we applaud or boo such a speaker it will be for what s/he says, not >> the way it is said. >> > > I don't think one needs to be conscious of the poetic forms used in a speech > for them to be effective. Consider the greatest English language orator of > the 20th Century, Sir Winston Spencer Churchill. While one does not normally > think of his "We will fight them on the beaches" speach as poetry, there it > certainly makes effective use of some poetic devices, such as repetition > with variations of a central theme. > > Why is this? Good oratory has to stick in the mind. I think it is likely > that poetry originally arose as a means to aid the memorisation of oral > narratives - for example, Homer's epics were transmitted orally for > centuries before they were written down. Good poetry is easy to memorise - > if you read through AA Milne's poem "Teddy Bear" a few times you'll be able > to recite it from memory without difficulty. So, if you want to make a > speech that will stick in people's minds, you write it a bit like poetry. > Your audience doesn't have to know that you're doing it for it to work. This is why my Ilion civilization's official governmental pronouncements are all in verse. Although literacy is widespread and new laws are distributed in writing rather than recited in public squares, the tradition lives on and they wouldn't think of doing otherwise. They can be pretty conservative like that.