Northern Drive to St Lucy

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Comments on Dragonflies Are Back



Dragonflies Are Back

We know when the sun takes its hiatus
Buckets of tear drops we see pouring down;
Hedgerows get pregnant with beds of cuscus;
Grassy pastures are laced with much cow-down
Firewood amassed for homes not in town;
The gurgling sounds of gully streams pulsate
For all sorts of insects to conjugate;

Country life is a blissful way of life;
It fills serenity's cup to the brim,
From crack of dawn and beyond sunset blithe;
Eden comes in full view with an awesome gym,
Nature's store-house of gifts for us, from Him;
Despite stiff competition we endure,
Nature holds the keys to unlock fate's door.

No blazing cane-fields to cause frustration,
But this scene over the pond to the west,
Caught my attention and adoration;
Aquatic insects hover at their best;
These dragonflies are back at Sunset Crest
Freely mixing mystic power with grace,
And kites with anchors can't keep up their pace.

With devil's eyes disguised, they prey and prey
On wings of light, long before the ice age;
From prehistoric mist, they've come to stay
With varied names to stump an astute sage;
Dreadful names, but do we find cause for rage?
Whether in damsel wear or dragon suit;
Insect hides they tan them in hot pursuit.

Adonately loved by folks everywhere;
They flaunt their beauty, life histories and
Amazing acts while mating in the air;
They search for pond water throughout the land
On which they lay eggs in the vast expand;
Hating mosquitoes’ unhealthy lifestyles
These cute dragonflies feast on them with flies.

All these dragonflies we respect greatly
In the West Indies, and across the sea;
And Japs adore their martial arts daily.
Look at this dragonfly shot Gregg sent me;
Such a perch it poses for all to see
Its bodily colors, flagging rainbow;

And in its perch its frame lights up the show.

Rhyme Royal advocates the use of seven heroic or iambic pentameter verses with the first stanza rhyming ababbcc; other stanzas that follow would have this rhyming pattern where the first and third verses rhyme; the second, fourth and fifth verses rhyme; the sixth and seventh verses rhyme. "Dragonflies Are Back" is structured in accordance with the rules for creating a Rhyme Royal poem.

Poetry archives do show that Chaucer first made use of the Rhyme Royal structure in his long poem, Troilus and Criseyde and The Parliament of Fowles. He used it for four of his Canterbury tales as well. Here is an extract taken from his works:

Geoffrey Chaucer (ca. 1343-1400)
       Excerpt from The Parliament of Fowls

A garden saw I, full of blossomy boughs
Upon a river, in a green mead,
There as sweetness evermore enough is
With flowers white, blue, yellow, and red,
And cold well-streams, nothing dead,
That swimming full of small fishes light,
With fins red and scales silver bright.

On every bough the birds heard I sing,
With voice of angels in their harmony;
Some busied  themselves birds forth to bring;
The little conveys to here play did hie.
And further all about I could see
The dread filled roe, the buck, the hart and hind,
Squirrels, and beasts small of gentle kind.

 My initial reaction to Rhyme Royal was to think of it as the preferred format for Kings and Queens who wrote poetry. My insight, was not too far-fetch for sure the archives stated that James I of Scotland used Rhyme Royal for his Chaucerian poem, The King is Quaire, hence the name, Rhyme Royal. Other historical icons who have used Rhyme Royal in their poetic creations come to mind; John Lydgate used it for many of his occasional and love poems. Shakespeare used it for the Rape of Lucrece. This form continued to be popular well into the 20th Century. It was used by W. H. Auden in his Letters to Lord Byron. Here is an extract of the last two stanzas of Auden's poem to Lord Byron:

Letters to Lord Byron
(Excerpt)

I know - the fact is really not unnerving -
That what is done is done, that no past dies,
That what we see depends on who's observing,
And what we think on our activities.
That envy warps the virgin as she dries
But Post coitum, homo tristis moans
The lover must go carefully with the greens.

I hope this reaches you in your abode,
This letter that's already fat too long,
Just like the Prelude or the Great North Road;
But here I end my conversational song.
I hope you don't think mail from strangers wrong.
As to its length, I tell myself you'll need it,
You've all eternity in which to read it.

(W. H. Auden)

The poem “Dragonflies Are Back” is written in the “first person-plural point of view”. The poet or narrator is in conversation with the audience; this is so because of the collective pronouns we, us, our,” being used in this poem as shown in these excerpts from the various stanzas:

“We know when the sun takes its hiatus”
“Nature’s store-house of gifts for us, from Him;
“Caught our attention and adoration:
Dreadful names, but do we find cause for rage?
Dragonfly fauna we respect greatly

Point of View (POV) answers the question poets ask themselves; ‘who shall be part of this conversation’. In “Dragonflies Are Back” The poem’s voice is collectively, that of the poet and the audience. The poem begins with a conversational tone, talking with the audience in a friendly mode, and continues like this to the end. Also there some intimacy between them by way of the poet sharing photo gift of a dragonfly received from a friend with the audience. Clearly in this maneuver, there is a healthy connection between the poet and the audience at a personal level as portrayed in the imagery. Poets tend to take an ordinary experience and change it into an unusual experience for readers, by introducing thoughts which alter readers experience and allow them to see unusual or even unique aspects of the poet’s real life. The mood portrayed is emotional. Not many poems are written in first person-plural point of view from what I have seen, and quite often when they do, they tend to sound didactic in tone. In fact, poets tend not to write in first person persona for this tend to label poets as having  narcissistic tendencies, a label no one in their right mind likes to wear. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Comments on " Dems were Bees were Dems"





Dems were Bees were Dems

Dems were Bees, Bees selected them
the best feeders seeded the bees’ nest
expelled renters kept the whey
flexed knees wheeled self-respect
speech defects depressed the rest
extend the scheme when verses rhyme
Dems were Bees the Bees helped them
Bees were Dems they then vexed them
let see, help me see
Dems were Bees then Bees were Dems
these speechless freezers deflected rejects
see the mess deep stress
when Bees leet leer Dems’ leg byes leery
ledge between Dems when Bees were Dems
we speechless
the eye-lens bent when levee level the ley
Press help repress then secede them
deflected rejects see the mess deep stress
when rebels’ legends wheedled the free press
deeds reflected the embezzlement
they resented the mere rhymes we expressed
never defend them, when leery deeds emerged them
free press smell Dems’ feet between the Bees
plenty Bees see vexed Dems
when nested Bees, never flee
Dems were Bees, Bees were Dems
Bees see themselves entrenched
when the press crested members’ senses
spent sperm less seeds between the trees
the eyes see
hewers’ hex behest between
when Dems bedded Bees they wed
creepy greed
jeez!
they set the cresset
then creeps’ speedy jeeps deflected 
jeez! they fled

This poem “Dems were Bees were Dems” is written in Free Verse with no punctuation marks or capital letters only when appropriate like names assigned to people or places. Free Verse is poetry characterized by non-conformity to established patterns of meter, rhyme and stanza. It is also referred to as “Open Form” or “Unstructured Poetry”.  This poem has utilized a technique called constraint writing where the poet is bound by some condition that forbids certain things or imposes a pattern. “Dems were Bees were Dems” is written in the constraint style called univocalic poetry. I was inspired by two univocalic poets the likes of C. C. Bombough and Christian Bok.

In 1860 C. C.Bombough wrote a univocalic poem where the only vowel used was the “o”. Here is an excerpt from his poem:

No cool monsoon bow on Oxford dons,
Orthodox, jog-trot, book-worm Solomons

The Canadian poet, Christian Bok who I suspect is bilingual speaker (of English and French) used the univocalic structure in his poetry book Eunoia, Chapter E for René Crevel where only the vowel “e” is used in words. Here is an excerpt of his work arranged in prose poetry format:

Enfettered, these sentences repress free speech the
text deletes selected words we see the revered exeget
reject metred verse; the sestet, the tercet – even les
scènes élevées en grec. He rebels. He sets new precedents.
He lets cleverness exceed decent levels He eschews the
esteemed genres, the expected themes – even les belles
letters en vers. He prefers the perverse French esthetes:
Verne, Péret, Genet, Perec – hence, he pens fervent
screeds, then enters the street, where he sells these
letterpress newsletters, three cents per sheet
He engenders perfect newness whenever we need fresh terms.

Prose poetry is characterized with rhythmic, aural and syntactic repetition; compression of thought; sustained intensity and patterned structure but is set on the page in a continuous sequence of sentences as in prose without line brakes.

Constraint poetry in the form of the Univocalic verse caught my attention. I saw it as a way to poke fun at “crossing the floor” trend in Barbadian politics by members of both parties – The Barbados Labour Party (BLP referred to the Bees) and the Democratic Labour Party (DLP known as the Dems).The univocalic poem in this regard is called “Dems were Bees were Dems” and the whole composition uses words with the vowel “e” only.

This “crossing of the floor” happened in the Barbados Labour Party as well as in the Democratic Labour Party.  “Crossing the floor” is not unique to Barbadian politics; history has shown that in the British House of Commons Sir Winston Churchill crossed the floor from the Conservative Party to the Liberal Party then crossed back to the Conservative Party. “Party-switching” is the term used in American politics and means any change in party affiliation of a partisan public figure, usually one who is currently holding elected office; and connotes a transfer of held power from one party to another.

In the United States’ dominant two-party system, records show that the switches generally occur between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party, although the archives have revealed that there have also been a number of notable switches to and from third parties, and even between third parties. Documented party switches in modern era politics of the United States of America show that the majority of switches came from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party in the southern most states. In New England, the Great Lakes states, and the coastal states switched from Republican Party to the Democratic Party.

Politicians who cross the floor or switch parties would have the people believe that they did so from an ethical obligation, because they feel their views are no longer aligned with those of their current party. Some politicians cross the floor or ditch their party for an opportunistic reason but they wouldn’t say it that way. Those opportunistic politicians usually belong to a minority party and would cross the floor to join the majority party to gain the advantages of belonging to such a party. However, the most important reason why politicians switch or ditch their party is to get elected.

I tend to believe that politicians share common characteristics; they expect absolute loyalty from voters at the polls, and think ceaselessly about the next election cycle. Politicians’ hunting ground opens vehemently during the “silly-season” and their tactics are so very profound – slashing and burning; coaxing and embracing then distancing; hugging and kissing; shame finds no roots during the silly-season and for the most part the populace is hypnotized or drunk, their senses on hiatus.


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Comments on "Dee Park"

Dee Park

That bloody park is found across the road
Vagrants exploding in every mode
Mongooses and green monkeys roam
Toads paddle in twisted foam
Tainted colors explode
Where foul scents abode
In land-filled loam
Ants decode
When gloam
Falls

(April 2006)


Genre      -               Syllabic Poetry
Form       -               Free Verse
Tags        -               Gothic imagery, decimeter

Comments on - Dee Park

The poem “Dee Park” falls into the genre of free verse but with some conditions placed on it. You are puzzled by this statement, no doubt. It is free verse because it does not comply with rules that apply to fixed form poetry. As long as poems do not comply with rules governing closed form poetry they fall into the category of free verse or open form poetry.

This poem glides along on syllabic count in which each line must adhere to a specific syllable count, and the length of the poem is restricted to ten lines as shown below:

Line       1          =          10 syllables
Line       2          =            9 syllables
Line       4          =            7 syllables
Line       5          =            6 syllables
Line       6          =            5 syllables
Line       7          =            4 syllables
Line       8          =            3 syllables
Line       9          =            2 syllables
Line     10          =            1 syllable

There comes a time when a poet feels compel to write dark poems, perhaps as a way to maintain equilibrium or to confront catharsis. Dark poems not only feed on such morbid images portraying death, suffering, and erosion of society’s moral compass but about anything with a dark twist. Dark poems are cathartic in nature and Gothic by birth. Gothic poetry or Gothic horror merges elements of horror and romance. “Dee Park” is a short poem and falls into the category of a modern Gothic poem. The imagery painted leads the mind to thinking of those obnoxious, pesky creatures bundled with sense of polluted waters and vermin like ants excavating the loam in the dusk for whatever reasons cannot be pretty, for dark deeds tend to be prevalent in the haunting silence of the night. Gothic foot-prints are evident in “Dee Park”. 

Among  my favorite American poets, Edgar Allan Poe  is in the loop and he wrote Gothic poetry as seen in his poem “Alone” shown below.

Alone

From childhood's hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.

From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.

Then- in my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life- was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:

From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,

From the lightning in the sky
As it passed me flying by,
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form

(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.

(Edgar Allan Poe)

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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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