Northern Drive to St Lucy

Northern Drive to St Lucy
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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Specialized Rhyme Schemes in English Poetry Versification - Part IV

By now you would have realized that rhyme schemes provide structure for many known metrical poetic forms. Any disregard for meter and rhyme schemes would compromise Traditional poetic structures. However, this is not to say that poems resulting from such a shift constitute bad poetry. In reading and writing English poetry it is beneficial to know and understand poetry shaped by canons of Traditional versification and poetry versification from Modernist poets in order to claim a broad understanding of poetry per se.

If you have been reading my poetry published here and on dead leaves it is clear to see that I lean significantly toward Traditional English Versification techniques. However, that is not to say that I wouldn't occasionally visit the shores of Modernist poets and pen a few poems in recognition of that fact. The current list of poems I have written includes poems created from rules governing Traditional forms and forms that disregard rhyme schemes and metrication. So what brand of poet am I? A poet who is deeply romping in bed with Traditional forms of poetry but not afraid to surf as the occasion warrants, on Modernist waves.

Now, having said that I propose to point my thoughts on the impact specialized rhyme schemes in English poetry have on forms of poetry listed as follows:

Anacreon Ode
Dorian Ode or Choric Ode
Epinicion Ode
Ghazal
Horatian Ode
Irregular Ode
Homostrophic Ode
Limerick
Pantoum
Paradelle
Pindaric Ode
Sestina
Shakespearean Sonnet
Spenserian Sonnet
Petrarchan Sonnet
Hendianne Sonnet
Terza Rima
Triolet
Villanelle

So please take this journey with me.

The aabbcc ddeeffgg rhyme scheme reflects the Anacreon Ode in the poem, Observe When Mother Earth is Dry by Thomas Moore. Take a read:

Observe when mother earth is dry,
She drinks the droppings of the sky;
And then the dewy cordial gives
To every thirsty plant that lives.
The vapours which at evening weep
Are beverage to the swelling deep;
And when the rosy sun appears,
He drinks the ocean's misty tears.
The moon, too, quaffs her paly stream
Of lustre from the solar beam.
Then, hence with all your sober thinking!
Since nature's holy law is drinking,
I'll make the laws of nature mine,
And pledge the universe in wine!

The ababccff rhyme scheme also reflects the Epinicion Ode as used in the National Anthem of the United States of America, The Star Spangled Banner. Take a read on the first stanza of this anthem:

Oh, say can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

The Epinicion is an ode in praise of a victory in the Greek games or in war. Not an American but from a former colony of Britain, this was worthy news to me upon finding out that the National Anthem of the United States of America, The Star Spangled Banner, was set to the song, To Anacreon in Heaven, composed by John Stafford Smith s a drinking song for London's Anacreontic Society. Even more noteworthy was that the words of the Star Spangled Banner were written in a poem by Francis Scott Key. Then it was made into a song that is the National Anthem of the United States of America. Take a listen on the first stanza of the anthem.



Fascinated by this, I delved a bit further into the history of the USA and found out that on the day after the enemy's attack on Fort McHenry, Francis Scott Key was greatly inspired by the fact that "the flag was still there" so he wrote the poem. Oh, the lyrics of this poem that have shaped the National Anthem of the USA are awesome, beautifully written, full of deep emotions bringing sweet tears to my eyes every time I hear or read all the stanzas. It is a pity though, that one only gets to hear the first stanza on special occasions. As the world stands now, in political chaos, I think the time is right that all the words are aired when the anthem is used. No more wanton cropping of the four stanzas.

The aaabbccddbBeeeAAA / aabbccddeeffgghhiIiI /aabbccddeeffgghhggiijjj are rhyme schemes used in these three Anacreon odes devoted to love, drinking and beauty found in Anacreontiques crafted by Abraham Cowley after the style of the Greek poet Anacreon. Take a read:

1. Love

I'll sing of Heroes, and of Kings;
In mighty Numbers, mighty things,
Begin, my Muse; but lo, the strings
To my great Song rebellious prove;
The strings will sound of nought but Love.
I broke them all, and put on new;
'Tis this or nothing sure will do.
These sure (said I) will me obey;
These sure Heroick Notes will play.
Straight I began with thundring Jove,
And all the'immortal Pow'ers but Love.
Love smil'ed, and from my'enfeebled Lyre
Came gentle airs, such as inspire
Melting love, and soft desire.
Farewel then Heroes, farewel Kings,
And mighty Numbers, mighty Things;
Love tunes my Heart just to my strings.


II. Drinking


THe thirsty Earth soaks up the Rain,
And drinks, and gapes for drink again.
The Plants suck in the Earth, and are
With constant drinking fresh and faire.
The Sea itself, which one would think
Should have but little need of Drink,
Drinks ten thousand Rivers up,
So fill'd that they oreflow the Cup.
The busie Sun (and one would guess)
By's drunken firy face no less)
Drinks up the Sea, and when'has don,
The Moon and Stars drink up the Sun.
They drink and dance by their own light,
They drink and revel all the night.
Nothing in Nature's Sober found,
But an eternal Health goes round.
Fill up the Bowl then, fill it high,
Fill all the Glasses there, for why
Should every creature drink but I,
Why, Man of Morals, tell me why?


III. Beauty


LIberal Nature did dispence
To all things Arms for their defence;
And some she arms with sin'ewy force,
And some with swiftness in the course;
Some with hard Hoofs, or forked claws,
And some with Horns, or tusked jaws.
And some with Scales, and some with Wings,
And some with Teeth, and some with Stings.
Wisdom to Man she did afford,
Wisdom for Shield, and Wit for Sword.
What to beauteous Woman-kind,
What Arms, what Armour has she'assigne'd?
Beauty is both; for with the Faire
What Arms, what Armour can compare?
What Steel, what Gold, or Diamond,
More Impassible is found?
And yet what Flame, what Lightning ere
So great an Active force did bear?
They are all weapon, and they dart
Like Porcupines from every part.
Who can, alas, their strength express,
Arm'd, when they themselves undress,
Cap a pe with Nakedness?

Forms of odes appear in many of the cultures were influenced by Pindar who wrote poems in ancient Greek and by the Latin poet, Horace. The ode is a majestic and intricate form of lyrical verse. The ode gives voice to the poet's narrator who addresses the audience directly. In so doing, the narrator projects own feelings, state of mind on the audience who in turn may equally be affected by the imagery created.

(Wait for the continuation)

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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.

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