I shared a sonnet by the wonderful Sir Thomas Wyatt the other day, and I reminded myself oh how much I love his poems.
Here is what I wrote about his sonnet, ‘My galley, chargèd with forgetfulness‘:
Thomas Wyatt must have experienced all sorts of weather on the sea as he was travelling to the different places he was sent as an ambassador for his king, Henry VIII, he must have known ‘sharp seas in winter’, and when you consider how small the ships were in those days, being on board a sixteenth century galley must have been very different from our travels. We are going to France soon, and we’ll be on a ferry crossing the Channel, a world away from what Thomas would have known. Thomas would have experienced the dangers of sea travel, maybe passing ‘tween rock and rock’ but this poem is a translation and interpretation of Petrarch’s sonnet 189, ‘Passa la nave mia colma d’oblio’. In the modern jargon of TV chefs, Wyatt has put his own ‘twist’ on Petrarch: