Here, There be a Writer

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Iambic Pentameter and Beyond

I am going to post a sonnet that I wrote in iambic pentameter. While is not that great (compared to Will's work), it a solid attempt, certainly for a first attempt using iambic pentameter.

See, it is very hard. I am writing a blog for each day this week (a challenge to stretch my mind to it's limits). This means I need to have something to write about each day. Well, then I came up with my Sonnet-a-Day for a month project. I feel like this week I could cross over for seven days. That feels like cheating. I need really content! Today is iambic pentameter day (so decreed by me).

Okay, I am rambling! The sonnet written in iambic pentameter. To give me credit, I did sit down and one. I counted the syllables, stressed and unstressed. It might not be perfect, but I feel that I got what The Bard was going for. It was hard. Yes! REALLY hard! Trying to get the right amount of "Iambic Feet" (a stressed and unstressed syllable) and 5 of them in ONE line. Then to make matters worse, rhyming every other lines. 3 quatrains with rhyme and a couplet.

Wow! I feel literate. After all the the poems I have personally written, or written for various classes over the years, (and that's a lot). Trust me, I feel great! It might be a small accomplishment to some, but to write a sonnet, with rhyme, and in iambic pentameter. That's wow! That's AWESOME!

I am normally used to free verse. I just write and go. When I stick to form, I go for Haiku. They are one of my favourite poetic form. They are easy to write, but also,  eastern thought and eastern poetry makes me happy. While in college I had to write a villanelle and terzanelle for my "Intro to Creative Writing" with prof. Lord. They had a definite form and rhyme scheme. I really took to them. Wikipedia's definition: villanelle is a nineteen-line poetic form consisting of five tercets (3 line stanza) followed by a quatrain (4 line stanza) and the first and third lines repeat thorughout the poem. It's a very song-like form. One could put music to some villanelles. Here is my first attempt at a villanelle back in 1997:

Entity: A Villanelle

Here comes the darkness that engulfs the eyes
in a mass of acrid bile; it burns alive.
All in disguise?

Purely by surprise
among the ancient ruins it does dive,
the darkness that engulfs the eyes.

Of the times, it has tried to die
it never thought to contrive
that it was all in disguise.

Never given a chance to try 
there are now only five
left alive, left of the darkness that engulfs the eyes.

Why all sudden lying?
No longer will it survive,
in the end, it is a disguise.

It rises
and it writhes
the darkness that engulfs the eyes
in all; it is a disguise.

 Dylan Thomas one of the most famous villanelle out there:

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

The other form that I was introduced to in my creative writing class was as a Terzanelle, also a 19 line poem. This is very similar to the villanelle, but with a terzanelle, the middle line of each stanza is repeated as the last line of the next stanza. Likewise, the first and third line of the first stanza repeat in the final quatrain. The Terzanelle also has a rhyme scheme making it also song-like .

A Moment

Jays chatter wild among the trees
they spiral slowly earthward.
I see three

who leap skyward
heading to a warm place.
They spiral slowly earthward--

their tails, delicate like lace,
only blue.
Heading to a warm place

there are only a few
 feathers that fall like heather;
tall and filled of hue.

Cold turns the weather
bitter; it bites the wings.
Feathers that fall like heather

are funny little things.
Jays chatter wild in the trees.
The cold, it bites the wings
and I see three.

Okay, enough of the old college poetry, you came here to read some sonnets. I now I present my  freshly typed sonnet, written in iambic pentameter (first time ever). This sonnet is dedicated to Adichappo, who gave me my first topic in my month of sonnets. It's day two of sonnet month!

Lord Oberon
Oh, thy Fair Face

Oh, thy fair face, that graces my own eye
From the farther oceans you have traveled.
Coasting in to the bay, your tears, they cry--
From the hardest journey that you reveled.

You realize that your world is far from you.
This land is fresh and green from the long rains
And your elfin heart soars at the sky blue
Of the new home you have long sought in vain.

The magic has returned to your slight hands
Now that your feet are on the land once more
And can feel the earthen power, so grand.
That you, gazing across, can feel you soar--

Your home is now amongst my folk and will
Sing together in a harmony still.

1 comment:

  1. I had to read it twice because I could not keep up with you the first time! I like it.


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