Northern Drive to St Lucy

Northern Drive to St Lucy
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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

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