So, your challenge for the week is to write a poem in the form of ottava rima. Leave me a note about your work and I'll post the results here later this week.
Sailing to Byzantium
by William Butler Yeats
That is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees
- Those dying generations - at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.
An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.
The blog of a teacher educator discussing math, science, poetry, children's literature, and issues related to teaching children and their future teachers.
Monday, May 31, 2010
Monday Poetry Stretch - Ottava Rima
I keep going back to form when I need some structure for my writing. It actually helps me when I have constraints to work within. Ottava rima is an Italian form that consists of a stanza of eight lines with the rhyme scheme abababcc. In English, the lines are usually written in iambic pentameter. Ottava rima is generally associated with epic poems (like Don Juan), but can be used for shorter poems.
An example of ottava rima can be found in the poem Sailing to Byzantium. Here are the first two stanzas of the poem.
Labels: Monday Poetry Stretch
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Waiting for SummerReplyDelete
My desk is dry and angular and gray.
I know I need to write another line.
Up on the wall, the clock insists it's May,
but June sails through me like a brigantine.
And though my teacher takes us out to play,
the asphalt's dead. I need the taste of brine,
the sand inside my socks, then socks no more,
I need sun on my shoulders, need the shore.
My clothes seem stiff, as if they're made of stone.
Today I am a statue, I'm not real.
I should be swimming far away, alone,
a dolphin or a swordfish or a seal,
where jellyfish haunt currents, where the moan
of sea wind speaks to water. I should feel
the cutting through the blue, the turn and dive—
but here I sit and wait to be alive.
--Kate Coombs, 2010, all rights reserved
Kate - I love "the asphalt's dead", "jellyfish haunt currents", "the moan of sea wind speaks to water"...heck, I love all of it. A.ReplyDelete
The strawberries are ripe! Come out with me!
Bring lots of baskets. We'll sit in the dirt
to work. I'll tell you my mom's recipe
for freezer jam. We'll talk and juice will squirt,
staining our chins. We'll eat all day for free.
So grab your baskets. Wear your reddest shirt.
Prepare yourself to pick a heavy load
of strawberries. I'll meet you down the road.
Next winter when Jack Frost is blowing cold,
when snow has hidden every plant from view,
when berries in the stores aren't even sold,
I dream about an afternoon with you.
We'll sit in sweaters, eating summer's gold,
remembering today and how we knew
that winter, like a wheel, would come around,
and how we found sweet rubies on the ground.
© Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
Only the Women Can HearReplyDelete
And this is no country for old women.
The internet chats, the movies, songs,
All sing of youth and time. Forgotten,
Challenged by gravity, by memory, we long
For the past, though it is long past time when
We can recall the splendors that once rang
Through us like Old Tom’s mighty knell.
We are in some strange notion of Hell.
How did we get here? Step by step
Along the unforgiving path of time.
How do we leave here? Stop by stop,
Along the train’s slip line, become
Childish, childlike. inelegant, inept,
Back to the beginning, back to the womb,
To the heartbeat, the blood beat in the ear
That only the fetus and the women can hear.
©Jane Yolen 2010 all rights reserved
I hate yardwork. With a passion. So here are my thoughts after spending a few hours in the yard this weekend.ReplyDelete
I battled weeds with one small-handled spade
and rubber gloves—ill-equipped and jealous
of lawnless people, who don’t have to wade
through dandelions to peeling trellis.
People who know even the weeds have paid
their dues, who listen to what they tell us:
Retreat! Hunker down, relax—let us grow.
Don’t bury us with what you do not know.
--Laura Purdie Salas, all rights reserved
Thanks, Amy! I like "wear your reddest shirt." Also Jane's "unforgiving path of time" and the fact that Laura chose "jealous" as a rhyming word and pulled it off!ReplyDelete
Though US students are out (I think - right?) kids are still in school in Canada, but dreaming of - or dreading - summer.ReplyDelete
My mom has signed me up for summer camp.
That’s twenty-one meals in the dining hall.
It’s shivering in a towel that’s always damp
and taking dares to scale the climbing wall.
It’s harnessing to be the zipline champ
contests of shooting with the basketball.
Can’t wait for campfire and those yummy ‘smores
-- of course we earn them all with cabin chores.
This summer I’m supposed to learn to swim
I’m scared of getting water up my nose.
Styrofoam kickboard helps me float and skim
remember, breathe and stroke and kick your toes.
The water in my eyes is nothing grim
it’s just two weeks of crawl and backstroke woes.
I’m dreading Friday when I take my test
(I’ll simply die if I don’t earn my crest!)
This holiday we’re traveling by car
we’ll even spend a night in a motel.
By daddy’s map it doesn’t look too far,
but hours of driving make me want to yell.
My sister and I get into a war
I tease her and she answers that I smell.
We eat some burgers and it’s on and on…
Such a long drive isn’t a lot of fun!
This summer I’m not going anywhere
I’ll jump the trampoline and read a book.
My dad said he might take me to the fair,
Mom said she’d prob’ly teach me how to cook.
I’ll treehouse sleep at night high in the air
at noon fish in the creek with worms and hook
on hot days water-park in my own yard
I’ll fill my days with fun – it won’t be hard!
© 2010 by Violet Nesdoly, all rights reserved.
Abababcc Five Beats, Eight Lines – Let’s Go. We’ll See…ReplyDelete
by Liz Korba
To write eight lines correctly as I should
Ottava rima lines that is the goal
I would compose such lines – yes, if I could
And oh to make the sounds and words just role
Along and have ONE person think them good
(Forget the hope to reach within the soul!)
Line five, I think, did not come out quite right
If I have time I’ll try again tonight.
The Economy, the War, BP, Korea, Gaza, MTV…
by Liz Korba
I know that there is trouble in the air
And brace myself for what I do not know…
I do not wish to choose what is despair
Nor want to run – besides where would I go?
There was a time when shelter came with prayer
And many still call out like long ago
To God, to man, to presidents and kings -
And poets – we must listen to these things.
As poets always have since words were sung
Or said to mean more then what could be seen
In cultures varied, ancient, old and young
They called us mad or left us – The Unseen
But still in every language, every tongue
Some try to name the stuff that lies between
Perhaps because they cannot choose despair
Or sense a silent calling in the air.
Okay, I know that I didn't attempt iambic pentameter, just the rhyme scheme. But here is what I came up with anyway.ReplyDelete
A Day in the Life of Preschoolers
by Nicole Marie Schreiber
Today is fireman day!
A kitchen chair becomes a seat
on a fire truck, raincoats lay
over couches, with shoes at the feet,
ready for the alarm to play,
but soon tomorrow shall greet
the little firemen, look them right in the eye
and ask, “Now instead, what would it be like to fly?”