Experimental Poetry Form: Fall Leaf

Set thirteen of items on MSakran.com is based off of a fall leaf.  One idea that was explored in the set, was the idea of life and colors.  The leaf in the photograph and artwork is brightly colored, and yet it is a picture of a dead leaf.  The leaf, presumably, started green, but as the green changed to the colors of yellow and red, the leaf died.  This idea of one thing declining (the life in the leaf) while another thing grows (the colors in the leaf) is the basis of this experimental poetry form.  The form is as follows:

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

The lines 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9, represent the life in the leaf.  At the start of the form, the leaf is fully alive (10 syllables), by the end of the form, the leaf has died (2 syllables).  Alternatively, the lines 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10, represent the bright colors in the leaf.  At the start of the form, there are no bright colors in the leaf (2 syllables).  By the end of the form, the leaf is fully bright in color (10 syllables).

(As a note, although 0 syllables would have been more representative of the dead leaf and the lack of bright colors than 2 syllables, a 0 syllable line would in essence be a line without any words (possibly blank or with something other than a word).  As such, it isn’t specifically included in the form, however, a poet could include a blank line before and after the form, which could fill that representation.  In the form description above, it made more sense to consider two syllables as the point where the leaf had no bright colors and then, later, was dead, rather than to say that the leaf had almost no bright colors, and was almost dead.)

The way the form works, lines shrink and grow in an alternating fashion.  This characteristic could be used in a number of ways by a poet.  For example, following the way the form was developed, a poet could have the odd numbered lines discuss the decline of the something, while the even numbered lines discuss the growth of something.  Alternatively, a poet could focus on one idea, and see how the pattern of syllable counts affects its representation.  As a third idea, a poet might decide to disregard, in some sense, the pattern presented and mentally break the one stanza into multiple stanzas.  The poet could, for example, decided that lines 1 – 3 focus on one thing, lines 4 – 7 another thing, and lines 8 – 10 a third thing.  Other possibilities could also exist.  Using the form in this way, a poet could see how the pattern in the form combines with whatever breaks they decide and see how that affects the poem that they write.

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