Friday, April 17, 2015

Poem #16 for Poetry Month-Senarius Metre, Greek & Latin tradition



Today, I’ve dipped back into the Classical Greek and Latin chapter of The Shapes of Our Singing for a twelve syllable line, the Senarius Metre, with a -/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/ stress pattern. There is latitude for my bleary morning mind though. The – symbol can be used for a light stress OR a long stressed syllable while the / symbol, as always, means a strong stress. 

Compared to the many complex rhythmic possibilities offered by the ancient Greek and Latin forms, this one appears to offer an easy way in for my two draft effort. I do not consider myself, first and foremost, a poet but a storyteller in prose form so these daily excursions to the Land of Poetry in an hour or two, at most, have me raiding my poetry cupboard aka computer file or coming up with the equivalent of a limerick vs a Persian ghazal. Free verse vs a Shakespearean sonnet. 

But I enjoy working and playing with established forms and I especially enjoy reading poetry, like the haiku of Joanna Streetly in This Dark from Postelsia Press, Tofino: 2014 or the ghazals and anti-ghazals by Phyllis Webb, one of Canada's most perceptive, skilled and wise poets, ever. Read Wilson's Bowl. Read everything she has ever written, in fact.
 
The Shapes of Our Singing: A Comprehensive Guide to Verse Forms and Metres From Around the World
By Robin Skelton
Published by Eastern Washington University Press, Spokane, WA: 2002
Building Forty Years of  Fertile Ground 

The rains have stopped for now, I pray, there is so much
To do today and my back aches but what is that
Compared to a row of raspberries whose shallow
Roots are choked with grass and of course my nemesis
Creeping buttercup, oh! That clammy fiend puts me
In mind of some in human form who haunt my patch
Of fertile ground, demand to know the whereabouts
Of nutrients, trade secrets, as if my long years
Of toil, my compost bins, my woesome lack of cash
Was somehow a subterfuge, a quick magic trick
To produce five genres of juicy berries each
One a summer poem fresh from my tart-sweet tongue

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