Friday, February 26, 2010

Poetry Stretch Results - Kyrielle

The challenge this week was to write in the form of kyrielle. There was some discussion about whether this was actually the correct name for the form. We wrote "traditional" kyrielles back in April 2008. Here's the explanation for that form.
A kyrielle is a French from that was originally used by Troubadours. In the original French kyrielle, lines had eight syllables. Written in English, the lines are usually iambic tetrameters. The distinctive feature of a kyrielle is the refrain in which the final line of every stanza is the same. The name of the form comes from the word kyrie, a form of prayer in which the phrase "Lord have mercy" (kyrie eleison) is repeated.
The definition of kyrielle I used this time around came from the book Fly With Poetry: An ABC of Poetry, written and illustrated by Avis Harley.
Kyrielle - a kyrielle is divided into couplets, each pair of lines ending with the same word which acts as the refrain.
There was a question of whether or not this form as described was actually a ghazal. Here's what I know about this form. This definition comes from The Teachers & Writers Handbook of Poetic Forms.
The original Persian form was fairly simple--a poem of five to twelve couplets (two-line stanzas), all using the same rhyme, with the poet putting his name in the final stanza. ... Originally the main themes of the ghazal were love and drinking wine, but later poets became more philosophical and even mystical in their writing.

In it's contemporary form, the ghazal doesn't usually rhyme, poets don't sign their name in the last couplet, and it isn't very often about love or drinking. So you might wonder what's left of the original Persian form.

The two important features are the long-lined couplets (sometimes unrhymed) and the often mystical thoughts that are expressed.
In the end I don't know what the answer is, but I did have fun reading the results in their variant forms. Here they are.
What Will I Wear
by Jane Yolen

What will I wear when day is done,
When all my skin and flesh are gone?

How will I know which skills to hone
When brain and heart are also gone?

Who will I speak to, in what tone,
When mouth and ear and throat are gone?

Who will I love when I’m alone
And all I know are dead and gone?

©2010 Jane Yolen all rights reserved

by Kate Coombs of Book Aunt

Maybe this is the day to begin.
I can sort of see it, but I hesitate.

Today I will sprout a future
like green wings. Except--I hesitate.

If I can just drop that habit,
life will gleam. I hesitate,

wanting to keep it and drop
a different one. To hesitate

is easy. Should I call you?
Should I write a poem? Hesitate

and all is not lost. But something is,
something isn't born because I hesitate.

--Kate Coombs, 2010

An Artist Mother’s Plea
A kyrielle by Nicole Marie Schreiber

I’ve laid the plan, the plot’s in sight,
I think it’s time to sit and write.

But laundry's piled and money’s tight,
With dinner to make, how can I write?

With dishes reaching such a height,
And whiny kids who cry, “Don’t write!”

Whatever it takes, the muse must fight,
For artist mamas to write, write, write!

Something Fishy
by Kate Coombs of Book Aunt

At breakfast, James does not feel well,
staring like a mackerel.

His skin gleams coolly as a shell.
Fetch water for the mackerel!

And then, of course, there is a smell
of ripe and briny mackerel.

Oh, surely someone's cast a spell
To turn James to a mackerel.

Poor boy. I wish that I could tell
just how to care for mackerel.

--Kate Coombs, 2010

by Diane Mayr of Random Noodling

Piercing rain, freezing drizzle, glaze
my vision, blinding me with grays.

Snow falls. It clings, lingers, and stays.
Exhaust and dirt turns white to grays.

Endless nights after cold dank days
intensify these winter grays.

Dear Lord, your name I surely praise,
but please, enough with winter grays.

Eubalaena glacialis
by Steven Withrow of Crackles of Speech

One day I'll take a whale watch boat
To see your great descendants float
And breach up their enormous girth,
Before they perish from the earth.

That day I'll hear their right whale song,
And I will gladly sing along,
As they intone with mammal mirth,
Before they perish from the earth.

And if I'm lucky, I'll have spied
An infant calf by mother's side,
Who weighs a ton his day of birth,
Before they perish from the earth.

Your skeleton is ghostly white,
But I will join your faithful fight.
If humans learn your precious worth,
You'll never perish from the earth.

by Doraine Bennett of Dori Reads

It wouldn't be a bother
to help take care of Mother,

but she only wants my father
to get her out of bed. So I said, Mother,

you really need another
pair of hands. Well, then my mother

took a fit of temper and she stuttered
I should listen to my mother.

It's easy to misjudge her
even if she is my mother,

so I turn aside and mutter,
the woman is my mother.

What is it now? Oh, brother.
Lord, have mercy on my mother.

by Liz Korba of

Their father said that God was One
Two brothers – each he called his son
But One was not to be their fate.
”Awaiting Easter – God is Great.”

I pray not knowing if I’m heard
Petition, sorrow, praise – Absurd?
Yet I must hope, that is not my fate
“Awaiting Easter – God is Great.”

These words I whisper - this my prayer
To those who hear, to God, to air
The truth I crave, I here create
“Awaiting Easter – God is Great.”

The spring will come, bring life anew
I’ll call this fact. I’ll claim this true.
As real as fear. As real as hate.
“Awaiting Easter – God is Great.”

Tiel Aisha Ansari of Knocking From Inside share a poem entitled Dowry of the Bride.

MsMac (Jone) of Check It Out is our host today and has written an Ode to Poetry Friday.

Nepalese Monsoon
by M.F. Atkins of World of Words

Steaming tin roof, sloped and plain
echoes the drumbeat of the rain

waiting beneath for the rumble to wane
while downpours puddle up the rain

my thoughts jumble in my brain
scrambled by a deafening onslaught of rain

a conversation I try to feign
but give up shouting over the rain
It's not too late if you still want to play. Leave me a note about your poem and I'll add it to the list.

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