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Saturday, March 9, 2013

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Avian Christmas Dish

Three days before Christmas of twenty ten;              
Strolling as usual under cherry tree;                           
I was on my wild hunting regimen;                           

Feline behavior really sets me free.                            

Killer instinct does dwell in feline mind;                   
Predatory drives hunting daily sport;            
Regardless of how well fed, teeth must grind,          

Domesticated in home at Bridgeport...
                       
On boughs my four padded feet stood supreme;                  
Among wet leaves and rising of the sun;                   
Birds among the green, I plotted my scheme;                       

Poultry dish wish my fearless plot was spun.            

Through cherry boughs I scaled through early morn,
With every climb my wish grew out of sight;            
"Come down Ginger, you are no leprechaun";          

 That voice in my head was stern and polite.

A Whiskas cat I am; I love to prey;                           
But church bells bellowed time for midnight mass;  
Trees sang “Silent Night” and I had no sway;           

Those black-birds chirped cherry-berry Christmas.

“Avian Christmas Dish” is structured around the terza rima. The terza rima consists of tercet verses in iambic pentameter in English poetry. The Italian poet Dante Alighiere invented the Terza Rima in the late 13th Century. Its inventor offered a series of five options on how to conclude the Terza Rima poem as follows:

1. Use a one-line verse after each stanza in which its end-rhyme, rhymes with the second verse of the preceding tercet;

2. Use a one-line verse at the end of the last stanza with its end-rhyme rhyming with the end-rhyme of the second verse of the preceding tercet;

3. Use a rhyming couplet at the end of each stanza with their end-rhymes rhyming with the second verse of the preceding tercet;

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

5.Use a rhyming couplet at the end of the last tercet, 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.

“Avian Christmas Dish” uses option 1 which uses a one line verse after each stanza in which its end-rhyme, rhymes with the second verse of the preceding tercet. The rhyme scheme for this poem is aba b cdc d efe f ghg h iji j. As is evident in its rhyme scheme, the poem has five tercet stanzas (a stanza of three verses is called a tercet).

The substance, the impressions, facts and ideas contained in poem “Avian Christmas Dish” or any other poem is called content. The content of this poem falls in the category of a dramatic monologue, dramatic poem as well as a narrative poem. Here are the reasons to support the various categories into which the poem falls:

The poem reveals a one-way conversation by the persona to a second person, or an imaginary audience (dramatic monologue). Persona refers to the speaker or voice of literary work. Persona is the “I” or implied speaker of narrative and lyric poetry. Narrative, dramatic and lyric verses are the three main groups of poetry. It is possible for a poem to combine the characteristics of narrative, dramatic and lyric verses. “Avian Christmas Dish” is a dramatic poem because it portrays a story of life, with a persona steep in conflict and emotions, in a miniature plot evolving through action and dialogue. The poem is a narrative poem, because the story keeps on evolving throughout the five stanzas and codas. Coda is a noun and the singular form for codas. Coda refers to the additional section at the end of the stanza. It is somewhat lyrical because the poem’s mood is emotional and rhythmical.

Poets are limited in materials they can use in their poems. All they have are words to express their ideas and feelings. These words need to be precise on several fronts at once. Words selected “must sound right; must have meaning which might have been unanticipated, but seem to be the perfectly right one; must be arranged in a relationship and placed on the page in ways that are at once easy to follow and assist reader in understanding; they must probe the depths of human thought, emotions and empathy, while appearing simple, self-contained, and unpretentious. The English language contains a wide range of words from which to choose for almost every thought, and they are numerous methods of arrangement of these English words, called poetic devices” (Chaparral poets.org).

Chaparral Poets.Org arranged poetic devices into four broad areas with headings like arranging the words, the meaning of words, the images of words and the sound of words. The details of headings arranged in alphabetical order are shown as follows:

 

            
Poetic devices are many and don’t expect to find a poem depicting all them. Poets know this and only select those poetic devices that assist in the development of cogent expressions pleasing to readers and which are appropriate for shaping the imagery of the poem so essential for the understanding of the poem’s content and message. To point this fact out, the poem “Avian Christmas Dish” is revisited for the purpose of location poetic devices used in the poem. Of significance in this probe is that the poem utilizes all the four categories but shows only a few poetic devices taken from each category as shown in these examples:

Various ways of arranging the words in poems are to be found in certain terms poets apply to the process of creating poetry. Here are examples taken from “Avian Christmas Dish”; enjambment, form, fixed form, stanza form, stanza, verse, line, rhyme scheme, point of view.

Enjambment allows words to flow from verse to verse or stanza to stanza without any sort of end-verse punctuation.

Example:
Three days before Christmas of twenty ten
Strolling as usual under cherry tee
I was on my wild hunting regimen;

On boughs my four padded feet stood supreme
Among wet leaves at the rising of the sun;

Form is the arrangement or method used to convey content. It also means the details within the composition of the poem. Generally, it is used in reference to the structural characteristics shaping the poem as it compares to or differs from established modes of conventional arrangements in poetry. This definition is incomplete without giving examples in the following; open form, closed form, blank form, free verse, the couplet, heroic couplet and the quatrain.

Fixed Form poetry is when the structure of poems follows an established pattern of meter, rhyme scheme, stanza form and refrain, if there is a refrain. Examples of poetic structures which adhere to this definition are the ballad, ballade, concrete poetry, epigram, epitaph, haiku, limerick, lyric verse, ode, pantoum, rondeau, sestina, sonnet, terza rima, triolet and the villanelle.

The poem, “Avian Christmas Dish” is an example of a fixed form poem in stanza form. Stanza Form is the name given to describe poems composed on the number of verses in a stanza.  The stanza form is a factor in the categorization of whole poems describes as following a fixed form structure. Examples of stanza form types of poems are:

Couplet (2 verses in a stanza)
Tercet (3 verses in a stanza)
Quatrain (4 verses in a stanza)
Quintet (5 verses in a stanza)
Sestet (6 verses in a stanza)
Septet (7 verses in a stanza)
Octave (8 verses in a stanza)

The poem “Avian Christmas Dish” is also a stanza form type of poem because its stanzas are made of tercet verses. Stanza is a division of a poem established by arranging lines into a unit (free verse); arranging verses in metered poetry, in the same pattern of meter and rhyme throughout the poem . So, a stanza in metered poetry is a group of verses.

Verse is a single line of a poem arranged in a metrical pattern. In free verse there is no such thing as stanzas, this is replaced by units. Arranging lines in free verse is called a unit. Units are separated by blank lines. Stanzas within a poem are separated by blank lines as shown in “Avian Christmas Dish”, for example.

Line, therefore, is fundamental to the perception of poetry, marking an important visual distinction from prose. Poetry is arranged into a series of units or stanzas that do not necessarily correspond to sentences, but rather to a series of metrical feet and cadences as in the case of free verse or prose poetry.

Rhyme Scheme arranges rhyming words at the end of verses in each stanza  in an established pattern .This arrangement uses letters of the alphabet, as shown in this rhyme scheme aba b cdc d efe f ghg h iji j of the Terza Rima stanza form for poem “Avian Christmas Dish”.

When rhyming words are repeated in a rhyme scheme, capital letters are used. When words in a rhyme scheme do not rhyme, the alphabet letters x and y are used.  Here is an example taken from the poem “Bajan Conkies” shown below:


















In quatrains, the popular rhyme scheme abab is called alternate rhyme or cross rhyme as seen in poem “Angie” shown below:









Point of View is where the poet concentrates on the vantage point of the speaker or teller of the poem. The speaker of teller of the poem is referred to as the poem’s “voice”.  Point of View is where the poet decides on whether to use a persona as the 1st person, the 3rd person limited or 3rd person omniscient. The 1st person is the speaker in the poem who tells it from the “I” perspective. The 3rd person limited is the speaker in the poem who tells about the other characters through the limited perceptions of one other person. The 3rd person omniscient is the speaker in the poem who is not part of the story, but is able to know and describe what all characters are thinking.

In poem “Avian Christmas Dish” it is clear that the persona is the 1st person because of the many references to the pronoun “I” as seen in these examples:

Three days before Christmas of twenty ten;                 
Strolling as usual under cherry tree;                                
I was on my wild hunting regimen;                                 

Feline behavior really sets me free.                                

On boughs my four padded feet stood supreme;                         
Among wet leaves and rising of the sun;                       
Birds among the green, I plotted my scheme;              

Through cherry boughs I scaled through early morn,  
With every climb my wish grew out of sight;                
"Come down Ginger, you are no leprechaun";             

 That voice in my head was stern and polite.

A Whiskas cat I am; I love to prey;                                
But church bells bellowed time for midnight mass;     
Trees sang “Silent Night” and I had no sway;

Most words in the English Language convey several meanings or shades of meaning. This is why poets search for words in relation to other words to convey their innermost thoughts. Here are examples; allusion, ambiguity, apostrophe, contrast, personification, and pun found in poem “Avian Christmas Dish”:

Allusion is a brief reference to some person, historical event, work of art, biblical or mythological situation or character.

Example:

“Come down Ginger, you are no leprechaun”;

Ambiguity is a word or phrase that has multiple meanings, even in the surrounding conditions in which it is used.

Example:

That voice in my head was stern and polite.

Apostrophe occurs when the persona speaks directly to a real or imagined listener or inanimate object, by calling out the name of the person or thing.

Example:

“Come down Ginger, you are no leprechaun”;

Contrast is about things arranged closely, but with strikingly different features.

Example:

That voice in my head was stern and polite.

Personification accords human characteristics to objects, to non-humans and abstract ideas.

Example:

 But church bells shouted time for midnight mass;
Trees sang “Silent Night” and I had no sway:

Pun also refers to as paronomasia is all about word play in which words with different meanings have similar or identical sounds.

Example:

A Whiskas cat I am, I love to prey;

The imaging of words relies on such techniques as imagery, mood, tone and synesthesia; these techniques provide strong visual and sensory impact for poets when writing their poetry. In any poem, you are bound to come across imaging techniques in all types of poems read. Imagery is the language of the senses. Imagery allows poets to add depth and understanding of their creations. Imagery allows poets to use objects not really there to create comparison between one that     is, usually evoking more meaningful experiences for readers as readers retrieve physical experiences which they may have from sensory images. Imagery is a lot of things to a lot of different people; through the senses, poets draw in readers by painting mind pictures in their heads. What good is poetry without imagery? One would say a mere sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.

Synesthesia is a condition in which one type of stimulation evokes the sensation of another.  Chaparralpoets define this condition as the fusing of different senses by describing one kind of sense impression in words normally used to describe another. As a poetic device, synesthesia attempts to express a linkage between imagery sensors such as; visual, auditory, olfactory, kinesthetic, organic, gustatory and tactile. An example of synesthesia taken from “Avian Christmas Dish” is shown below:

 Example:

Killer instinct does dwell in feline mind;                         
Predatory drives hunting daily sport;                              
Regardless of how well fed, teeth must grind,

Through cherry boughs I scaled through early morn,  
With every climb my wish grew out of sight;

It is amazing how these five verses as shown above depict four imagery sensors (kinesthetic, organic, tactile and visual) out of the seven types of imagery sensors.
Tone is about the attitude, feeling or emotion one gets after reading poems. A poem’s tone points in three directions; to the audience being addressed; he subject of the poem, and to the general emotional climate of the poem;

In order to extract the tone of the persona on the audience, the poem must be read as a whole. The persona’s feeling or attitude is a combination of the poem’s structure, meter, images, imagery, cadence, rhythm, figurative language, explicit meaning, implicit meaning, symbolism, content, subject matter and the topic. Take for example; poem “Avian Christmas Dish” the tone of the persona is polite and concise. Obviously, this is very important because the persona’s goal is that of keeping the audience motivated and not to drive away the audience. However, this does not mean that the tone in poems is static. On the contrary, tone has a way of shifting throughout the poem. The tone in the first stanza of a poem can shift to a different tone in any of the remaining stanzas. Now let’s test this theory on all the five stanzas of the poem, “Avian Christmas Dish” the results are shown below:


 


Tone can also refer to the overall mood of the poem aimed to influence the readers’ emotional response and reactions to the poem’s content. However, tone and mood are two separate qualities. That said; how is mood defined?

Mood is created by the tone of the poem filtered through the state of the mind. I like to say that it is the atmosphere or feeling and is like a blanket cozily wrapped around tone. If the tone is aggressive, the mood or state of mind is to attack or do harm. If the tone is optimistic, then the mood will portray a positive attitude. If the tone is low-spirited then mood will present an atmosphere of discouragement. The overall mood of a poem is aimed at influencing readers’ emotional response and reactions to the contents of the poem. Mood is influenced by the structure of the poem; such as its imagery, words chosen, punctuations used, sound of words, images of words, meaning of words and arrangement of words. If you have read the poem “Avian Christmas Dish”; do you share this similar mood? I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders; for common sense had one the day; no wanton killing was unleashed, and the joyous feeling of Christmas filled the air.

Poets shape their creations around imagery drawn from such broad areas as sound of words, meaning of words, the arrangement of words and images of words. However, only a few poetic devices from these broad areas are woven in each poem. This has been highlighted in previous discourse with respect to the arrangement of words, the meaning of words, and the images of words. Attention now is drawn to the sound of words which is achieved when portions of words are clustered or juxtaposed to achieve specific kinds of effects when they are spoken. Their sounds can be clever, pleasing or soothing. Words that are not pleasing to the ears, poets often avoid them. Of course, dark poetry writers cherish such words.

Poets of all persuasions draw from the sounds of words by using poetic devices like; alliteration, assonance, consonance, cacophony, euphony, onomatopoeia, repetition, rhyme and rhythm and sibilance. Not all of these poetic devices associated with the sounds of  words are to be found all at once in poems; for there is the tendency for poets to select some of these poetic devices deemed appropriate for each new poem created and is best suited for what the poem is to achieve. Take for example in “Avian Christmas Dish” seven out of the ten poetic devices are used such as; alliteration, assonance, consonance, sibilance, rhyme, rhythm and scansion are shown below:

Alliteration repeats the same consonant in any part of adjacent words.

Example:

With every climb my wish grew out of sight;
But church bells bellowed time for midnight mass;
Those black birds chirped cherry-berry Christmas.

Assonance repeats vowel sounds in stressed words placed near each other rather than in vowel sounds that are unstressed.

Example:

Strolling as usual under cherry tree;
Feline behavior really sets me free.
Regardless of how well fed, teeth must grind.
Poultry dish wish my fearless plot was spun.

Consonance repeats consonant sounds at the ending of words that are stressed rather than in vowel sounds that are unstressed.

Example:

Poultry dish wish my fearless plot was spun.
But church bells bellowed time for midnight mass;
Trees sang “Silent Night” and I had no sway;

We associate rhyme with poetry. It is about words that have different beginning sounds but whose endings sound alike, including the final vowel sound and everything following it.

Example:

Three days before Christmas of twenty ten;                 
Strolling as usual under cherry tree;                                
I was on my wild hunting regimen;
Feline behavior really sets me free.                                 

Killer instinct does dwell in feline mind;                         
Predatory drives hunting daily sport;                              
Regardless of how well fed, teeth must grind,
Domesticated in home at Bridgeport...
                               
On boughs my four padded feet stood supreme;                        
Among wet leaves and rising of the sun;                       
Birds among the green, I plotted my scheme;
Poultry dish wish my fearless plot was spun.                

Through cherry boughs I scaled through early morn
With every climb my wish grew out of sight;                
"Come down Ginger, you are no leprechaun";
 That voice in my head was stern and polite.

A Whiskas cat I am; I love to prey;                                               
But church bells bellowed time for midnight mass;     
Trees sang “Silent Night” and I had no sway;
Those black-birds chirped cherry-berry Christmas.

Rhythm helps distinguish poetry from prose. It is the metrical pattern mixed with rhymes fuelling the rhythmic beat of poems. In order to provide examples of the rhythmic beat in poetry, it is necessary to conduct to scan of verses in a poem as shown in the examples below taken “Avian Christmas Dish”:



Scansion shows where the pattern of stressed syllables and unstressed syllables occur in verses in a poem. Such patterns are referred to as meter. Meter organizes voice patterns, in terms of both the arrangement of stressed and unstressed as marked by ictus (/), the breve (ˬ) and the meter counter (׀). Poetry is organized by the division of each verse into “feet” metric units which consist of a particular arrangement of strong and weak stresses as shown in the above examples. Scansion, therefore, is the conscious measure of the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in a verse of poetry. As seen in the examples five metrical feet in English Language poetry is called an iambic pentameter .If the five feet read only iambs, the meter gives off an unnatural rhythm or monotonous rhythm. Hence, the reason why metrical feet of any length in English Language poetry blend in other foot types like the trochee, spondee, dactyl, pyrrhic and anapest to counteract monotonous rhythm.


References:

Poetic Devices, Chaparralpoets. Retrieved March 9. 2003, from http://www.chaparralpoets.org/devices.pdf
Poetic Form: Terza Rima, Poets.org Academy of American Poets. Retrieved March 9, 2013, from Google search, http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/5794

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