Northern Drive to St Lucy

Northern Drive to St Lucy
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Monday, March 30, 2009

Pope John Paul II inspired poem

Giovanni Battista Montini came from Concesio, Brescia, Italy. He was born on September 27, 1897. In 1963 he became Pope Paul VI. He held office for fifteen years, two months. He died in 1978.

Albino Luciani was borned on October 1, 1912. He was from Forni di Canale, Bellunco, Italy. He became the Pope John Paul I. He died in office on September 29 , 1978 having only served for 33 days. According to the conspiracy theories in David Yallop's book, "An Investigation into the Murder of Pope John Paul I" he was assassinated by poisoning during the night of 28th to 29th September 1978. Could this be a "perfect crime" since we don't know for sure how he died? We do know how his successor died. The conflicting reports on his death surfaced immediately on how he died and this may have given rise to the conspiracy theory about his death. However, the story surrounding his short reign may be due to the fact that Pope John Paul I, the first pope to have a doubled-barreled titled had planned to carry out reforms he perceived the church needed. Listed among his reforms were a complete shake-up of the Vatican Power Structure; an absolute ban on contraceptives and fertility treatments. His life and death provides a compelling story.

Karol Jozef Wojtyla succeeded him as the 264th Pope. The title he carried was Pope John Paul II. He was from Wadowice, Poland and was borned on May 18, 1920. He shepherded his Catholic following of one billion, a little over two and a half decades. He was a very influential Pope. He was my favourite Pope even though I'm not a Catholic. I watched him on Kiwi television when he made his last appearance on this planet at his Vatican Window at St. Peter's Square on Easter Sunday 2005. He could only give a silent blessing as he waved his hand to the large crowd that had gathered knowing full well that his time to leave this earth was close at hand. I could not keep back the tears that flooded my face. Pope John Paul II died on April 2, 2005 at the age of 82 years. The death of Pope John Paul II inspired me to write this poem, "Easter" in Blank Form with Septet Stanzas.

Blank Form poetry is also known as Blank Verse. It is used extensively in narrative and dramatic poetry. In lyric poetry, it is adaptable to lengthy descriptive and meditative poems. In Blank Form poetry, there are end-stops but no end-rhymes. It retains a metrical pattern, usually iambic pentameter, a line containing five iambic feet in English Verse. It can also be any unrhymed verse. So , you will find that in the poem, "Easter" I have shaped it with Septet verses that contain iambs mixed with some anapaest, trochees, spondees, dactyls and pyrrhics. So, no, they cannot be classified as the standard iambic pentameter verses nor non-standard iambic pentameter verses. Now, I'll tell you why.

The Standard Iambic Pentameter contains five (5) iambs which measure five feet. An iamb is made up of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. I used these marks to show an unstressed syllable V and the stressed syllable with a stroke like this /. Look at this example in the word attack. The first syllable is at and it is an unstressed syllable, the second syllable is tack and it is a stressed syllable. So the word, attack is scanned like this V/ and has one iambic foot.

The Non-Standard Iambic Pentameter contains five (5) feet made up of iambs and other types of metrical feet. This is to counteract the metronomic effect by substituting for an iamb another type of foot whose stress is different. So it is not unusual to see any of these: trochee, spondee, dactyl, anapaest or pyrrhic, and so on. The second foot is almost always an iamb. The first foot is the one most likely to change by the use of this inversion technique. Another feature of the Non-Standard Iambic Pentameter is the addition of a final unstressed syllable. This therefore, creates a feminine ending or what is referred to as a weak ending. Any verse whose last word has an unstressed final syllable is said to have a feminine ending. Verse 1 of Stanza 7 from the poem, "The Barrow that Built a Nation" gives an example of a feminine ending.

Barrow used good tools for nation building (feminine ending)

In Septet poems, all stanzas have seven verses.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Forms of Poetry: Terza Rima


Valentine's Day continues to be very popular in the 21st Century. This knowledge prompted the writing of two poems in recognition of February 14. They are entitled: Saint Valentine's Day written in the form of an Acrostic and Valentine's Day in the structure of the Terza Rima.

These two poems are not sensuously provocative as some folks would have expected and for that I do apologize. As a sage poet you would have guessed correctly that they narrate the muse in a somewhat historical vein that underpins Saint Valentine's Day. Why? Because in this 21st Century, February 14 is looked upon as Friendship Day and is not only for lovers. In a sense, it is for folks that desire to express their affection to someone they cherish, respect, or appreciate. However, these two poems evoke images about myths and legends surrounding February 14.

I'm still fascinated by the history of catholicism. It is a universal fact that Saint Valentine is the name ascribed by the Catholic Church to several martyred saints in Ancient Rome. Still concerns exist today about Saint Valentine whose feast is on February 14. Why? Because nothing is known except his name and that he is buried on the Via Flaminia north of Rome on February 14. I'm still left to wonder if February 14 celebrates only one saint or more saints of the same name. Hence, I'm left to believe that February 14 supports legends that have somehow evolved so profoundly. Therefore it was incumbent on me to make cameo appearances of these legendary icons, Cupid, Eros and Romeo and Juliet in the poems. In the poem I turned to poetic license and reversed 'Romeo and Juliet' to 'Juliet and Romeo' so that it rhymes with cameo.

Now, as I reflect on these Valentine's Day icons let me start with Cupid. A classical statue of Cupid shows him as a child with his bow. In Roman mythology, Cupid is the god of erotic love and beauty. The other Latin name Cupid goes by is Amor and is synonymous with Karma. There are two versions concerning Cupid. The Roman version and the Greek's. The former places Venus, goddess of love as his mother and his father Mars, the god of war. The Greek's version of the legend places him as the son of Aphrodite and named him Eros. Of all the tales swirling around him, my favourite is the one about Cupid and Psyche.

What I like about England among other things is the fact that I can indulge myself in the delights of heritage tourism. During my last visit to England I crisscross from Northamptonshire to Strafford-upon-Avon. In the company of an English lady our trip took us to a castle and the birthplace of William Shakespeare among other things. I was quite enthralled with vines that sculptured some of the buildings I've seen as we travelled by car.

In the USA I've seen ivy vines sculpturing buildings and trees.





























In fact, my sister and I love to see those clinging ivy vines on her deciduous trees and I have taken the above pictures for you to see. The compliments from friends and strangers like the picturesque nature of the vines on the trees. If vines were allowed to grow on buildings in Barbados, folks would cry foul, especially that invasive type of vine known to Barbadians as the 'love vine' and my Floridian friends call it the "devil's gut". Well, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, isn't it? Or, one man's meat is another man's poison . Don't even mention the 'love vine' for this climbing pest is outlawed in Barbados and wherever love vines are found growing the authorities would step-in with their eradication machinery because love vines kill everything they ensnare. Wow! I went off on at a tangent, so you recognized that too. So sorry. Now I'm back on track.

Yes, history tells us that in his early career, playwright William Shakespeare wrote his tragedy, Romeo and Juliet. The play focuses on two star-crossed lovers whose untimely death unites their feuding families. When I first read this play in secondary school (high school), it brought tears to my eyes. Back then I never really like tragedies per se; I like happy endings and refused to touch 'Macbeth' with a ten foot pole and selected "As You Like It" as my option, lol. I like very much, all of his comedies. The 'Merchant of Venice' to my mind is a tragic comedy play. In fact, it's a comedy play with no laughs. I like very much Portia's appearance in Act IV, Scene I with her "Quality of Mercy Speech" to the Court of Justice in Venice. These opening lines from her speech still play in my head:

The quality of mercy is not strain'd.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.


When ever I come across the name, Portia I relive the mental images of the "Quality of Mercy Speech" and this is quite often because one of our local TV weather presenter's name is Portia. So Portia has become a stimulus for my brain to recall this event experienced vicariously, I dare say.

Now, I refer to the opening paragraph of this blog, and you will see that I've stated that I have written two Saint Valentine's Day poems. One is structured as an Acrostic and the other as a Terza Rima. In a previous blog I dealt extensively with the Acrostic so there is no need for me to go back there, I think. Now let's talk about the other poem written in the form of the Terza Rima. This poetic form also has its roots in medieval times thus well suited for the Valentine's Day poem. This poetic form comes in various ways; and for this poem's structure I have selected to have a rhyming couplet at the end of the last stanza with the end-rhymes rhyming with the end-rhyme of the second verse of the preceding tercet. A tercet is a stanza made up of three verses.

The Terza Rima was invented by an Italian poet, named Dante Alighiere in the late 13th Century. It consists of Tercet verses in Iambic Pentameter in English poetry. It uses a chain or interlocking rhyme scheme of aba, bcb, cdc, and so on. There are several ways in which to conclude the Terza Rima poem as shown below:

Ending with a one-line (verse), we have two options:

Use a single verse at the end of each stanza, with the end-rhyme rhyming with the end-rhyme of the second verse of the preceding tercet.

Or

Use a single verse at the end of the last stanza, with the end-rhyme rhyming with the end-rhyme of the second verse of the preceding tercet.

Ending with Couplets, we have three options from which to make a selection:

(Option One)

Use a rhyming couplet at the end of each stanza, with the end-rhyme rhyming with the end-rhyme of the second verse of the preceding tercet.

(Option Two)

Use a rhyming couplet at the end of the last stanza, with the end-rhyme rhyming with the end-rhyme of the second verse of the preceding tercet.

(Option Three)

Use a rhyming couplet at the end of the last stanza, with the rhyming couplet not rhyming with the end rhyme of the second verse of the preceding tercet. The rhyming of this couplet is independent, as it were.

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Haiti Under Rubble from 7.0 Earthquake

Natural disasters whenever and wherever they occur impact on all of our lives. The Good Book says we are our brothers and sisters keepers lead by the Holy Spirit. Hence, we must do our part when disaster shows its ugly face. Any assistance, great or small, given from generous and loving hearts has equal weight. I'm passing on this information I received that Barbadians can go to First Caribbean Bank to donate to the Disaster Relief Fund for Haiti. The banking information is shown below:

First Caribbean Bank Account--2645374-- Cheques can be written to: HELP #2645374

For more information click on this link

My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Haiti.

Reading Poetry