Experiments in Poetry

Having one hand in a cast doesn’t seem to be particularly detrimental to either inspirational flow, or typing ability at this point. So here are six poems in the six poetical forms I was inspired to play with today.


Form: Rondeau
Rules: Strictish, number of stanzas and lines in the stanzas and which lines rhymes with which are dictated by the form. To be a rondeau, it must be a three stanza poem, with the first stanza rhyming aabba, the second rhyming aab, and the third aabba. Some portion of the first line is repeated as a refrain at the end of the second and third stanzas.

Lost Rondeau

Buried deep depths deep, bad news forgotten in the past
Sneaking came upon you, but dropped behind just as fast
Ethereal and substance-less, a random thing of life
Panic of the moment, brushed off spot of strife
Unexpected, expelled, bad news doesn’t last

Worst news is cold, frozen, icicle waves so vast
You see your breath in its looming face, aghast
And plug your ears against its shrill, eerie fife
Buried deep depths deep

You would steer out of its path, but you’ve lost your ballast
Tall ship on raging water, speeding forward without a mast
Huddle behind bathroom doors, sit so still, yet the knife
Of it is carried with you. In silence and storm the pain rife
So tangible, no easing air to gasp and lighten heart forcast
Buried deep depths deep

Form: Tanka
Origin: Japanese in origin, like the haiku, the tanka is also syllable based, comprising five lines with 5/7/5/7/7 syllables and was apparently used by courting couples. Early form of texting emojis? The goal is to have it be one continuous thought, with the first three lines focused on an image and the last two discussing emotional response to the image.

Code of Tanka

List lies blank on page
Form still uninterpreted
aabb strict
codes that will become flowing
thoughts spoken from inner heart

Form: Triolet
Mood During Writing: Whimsical. Triolets only require that you write five lines, but you’re supposed to repeat them until the poem is eight lines long. My repeating poems always seem to force themselves into moodiness or a Dr. Seuss type of style. Line A, Line B, rhyme a, Line A, rhyme a, rhyme b, Line A, Line B, for anyone (besides me) who wants to know the rules.

Triolet of a Hookless Cookess

There once was a one-handed cook
Trip, fall, splash, and slide
Without the saving grace of a shiny hook
There once was a one-handed cook
Couldn’t even hold a recipe book
Yet somehow the calamari still got fried
There once was a one-handed cook
Trip, fall, splash, and slide

Form: Terza Rima
Meanderings: This poem has an endless form, as in, you could keep writing within its strictures as long as you could find a rhyme from the previous stanza’s center line. Three line stanzas repeat forever, or until you stop abruptly. Alternatively, apparently some English writers like to wrap things up with a couplet. I repeated the 1st and 3rd lines because they seemed to fit, but it’s not an actual part of the form. So, to summarize, the rhyme goes like this – aba bcb cdc ded, efe, fgf (or ff)

Wanderer’s Terza Rima

Mountains, white and cobblestoned
Or wooden boardwalks warmed in sun
For the past years I have roamed

Meeting the bears is a special kind of fun
Leaves the blood racing for hours
They leisurely pose, you stare and can’t run

Summertime under a sky that glowers
With snow clouds in July
But still creates bowers full of wildflowers

And in the winter you can lie
In the powder and stare at bright blue
An open, glowing bowl of sky

Sweating on the steep hikes, rue
Not eating dinner beforehand
But lose all regrets when you see the view

Icicles the size of a man demand
Personification, as they lean down
Toward the drifts that hide hard land

The folds of valley, skirts of a gown
The untouchable peaks snow-combed
Creating a magnificent crown

Mountains white and cobblestoned
For the past years I have roamed

Form: Bop
Dance moves: This style is apparently rather new and also lacks very precise rules. In fact, the descriptions that I found differed from the examples they proffered. My interpretation, after looking at both description and example was that rhyming pattern doesn’t matter, first stanza is generally five lines, second is eight, and last is six. A refrain line occurs at the end of each stanza. First stanza sets up a problem, second develops it, third resolves it. Sounds kind of like fantasy trilogies, eh?

Crusoe’s Be-bop

Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up
Which way is up again?
My sense of direction is corrupt
It says that down is East, but I’ve lain
Here so long looking for the West, it’s too abrupt.

I’ve trapped myself in my own mind

I think I’m laughing and it makes me sad
I sit in gloom and feel instantly glad
Imagination is rocking my boat
But while I cling seasick to the sides I gloat
Because even if I get stranded I have this goat
That I can milk and then I’ll make cheese
Like Swiss Family Robinson, I’ll dig a moat
Around a trickster’s house and let blow the breeze

I’ve trapped myself inside my own mind

Ah, that would be a stomach growl
Not a wild beast’s howl
How long have I lingered with the jungle fowl
Of my overgrown thoughts and the coffee-hyped
Meanderings my restless fingers typed?
It’s probably time to buy a vowel

I’ve trapped myself inside my own mind

Form: Pantoum
Frustrations: I enjoy all the example pantoums that I’ve seen when copying down poem rules from various internet databases, but they’re hard to write to my own satisfaction. The second and fourth lines of every stanza repeat as the first and third of following stanza. That much repetition means that you have to refine each line really well and/or give in and fidget a couple of words in the line to change the meaning. As soon as you start, you have find a theme that can develop multiple meanings easily and the first line wraps around to become the ending refrain, so you can’t stray too far from the initial thought. There’s probably a better pantoum lurking in my backbrain, but I couldn’t coax it out today, so you get this one, inspired by my effort to write itself after I was almost poetried out for the day.
Four line stanzas, repeating as follows:
Line 1, Line 2, Line 3, Line 4
Line 2, Line 5, Line 4, Line 6
Line 5, Line 7, Line 6, Line 8
Line 7, Line 9, Line 8, Line 10
etc., ending with Line 1

Pantoum in Motion

Momentum still carries you forward
Even when you’ve lost your will
Sometimes you’re headed homeward
Sometimes it’s getting further away still

Even when you’ve lost your will
Your goals still linger in distant profile
Sometimes getting further away still
Although you’ve been striving for a long while

Your goals linger in distant profile
Enticing in pictures of the future
Although you’ve been striving for a long while
In time you’ll taste them, you feel sure

Enticing pictures of the future
Feeding from past well completed
In time you’ll taste them, you feel sure
And lie back, content, repleted

In the past, goals completed
Gallery of triumphs urging you onward
No time to lie back, content, repleted
Race even harder, the memories hoard

Momentum still carries you forward



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