Monday, April 13, 2015

Poem #12 for Poetry Month-Alexandrine Couplet

An Alexandrine couplet is an English form with a twelve syllable line, a caesura or pause after the sixth syllable and for the final rhyming syllables, there is a predominantly iambic metre, or ~/ (light, stressed) delivery.

This popped into my head late last night as I was remembering our farm at the end of a gravel country road and how we could tell someone was driving on it by the high dust cloud raised for several miles. The anticipation built until we saw the dust cloud linger over a neighbour’s driveway and then settle. As I was trying to inject some urgency into a poem, I began thinking of the dust cloud not as a welcome diversion of surprise guests but as a more sinister harbinger in another place, another time.

Photograph is of arid Colorado ranch land from a train window in 2012, the kind of land where dust raised by wheels, or many hooves, would linger like airborne spoor for miles. 

Reading the Signs

We saw dust clouds linger. We knew the hills beckoned.
We could not dally here; slavery, we reckoned
and gathered the children. This is a true story.
Let me tell it to you, no tales of false glory
should fill your ears like glue. We fled to save our skins,
ran at night, slept through days. This is how it begins.