Experimental Poetry Form: anapestic meter with rhyme

Today’s experimental poetry form uses anapestic meter.  In each foot of this meter there are two short syllables followed by a long one.  It is the meter you might hear in a limerick.

In the form, there is one stanza with eight lines.  Each line has two anapestic feet.  In the form, lines two and four rhyme, and lines six and eight rhyme.  With the unstressed syllables noted with an -, the stress syllables noted with an *, and the rhyming lines noted with R and a number, the form looks as follows:

– – * – – *
– – * – – * R 1
– – * – – *
– – * – – * R 1
– – * – – *
– – * – – * R 2
– – * – – *
– – * – – * R 2

Here is an example poem using the form:

The small dog did have wings,
and it flew in the sky.
And the birds they did watch,
as the dog it flew by.
Then they asked how it flew,
and the dog it did say,
that it flew with its wings,
that it flew just like they.

 

As a note, there will be new blog post on M. Sakran’s blog of and about poetry and poetry related things November 22, 2018 – November 25, 2018.  The next new post will be on November 26, 2018.  Happy Thanksgiving.

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Poem: learned a lesson

The dog barked,
and for a moment,
the man thought,
to ignore the sound.

But in a moment,
he got up,
and walked over,
and saw the smoke,
billowing out,
from the grill,
on the porch.

As the man,
sprayed the hose,
he learned a lesson.

Poem with an explanation: Happiness again

Behind the bars,
looking out,
listening for a sound.

  Behind the bars,
  looking in,
  sitting in the silence.

The door opens,
eyes look up,
with hope.

  The door opens,
  eyes look down,
  in the emptiness.

Waiting each day,
seeing joy,
waiting for the turn.

  Waiting each day,
  seeing sadness,
  with nothing to wait for.

    Having a thought.

    Waiting.

    Having a thought.

    Waiting.

    Time passes.

    Waiting.

    Taking a step.

    Waiting.

Behind the bars,
looking out,
seeing the face.

  In front of the bars,
  looking in,
  seeing the face.

Happiness again.

 

This poem is about a person and a dog.  The person recently had their dog die and the dog in the poem is in an animal shelter.

The poem has stanzas with alternating focus for the most part (although how that is applied changes in the poem).  For the first six stanzas, the odd stanzas are from the perspective of the dog and the even stanzas are from the perspective of the person.

In the first stanza (Behind the bars, looking out, listening for a sound), the dog is in a cage at the shelter.  It is looking outside the cage bars hoping someone will come for it.

In the second stanza (Behind the bars, looking in, sitting in the silence), the person is alone at home.  Their dog has died and they are sad.  Their house feels like a prison (Behind the bars) and they are feeling loneliness.

In the third stanza (The door opens, eyes look up, with hope), the dog hears someone come into the shelter.  They look up hoping the person will pick them.

In the fourth stanza (The door opens, eyes look down, in the emptiness), the person opens the door to a room where their dog was.  The look down because they are sad because they are sad their dog is no longer there.

In the fifth stanza (Waiting each day, seeing joy, waiting for the turn), the dog in the shelter waits for someone to get it.  It sees the happiness of other dogs that are picked and it waits for its turn.

In the sixth stanza (Waiting each day, seeing sadness, with nothing to wait for), the person waits to feel better, but they are sad, and they feel like they have nothing to wait for because their dog is gone.

The first six stanzas follow a pattern.  They are grouped as pairs.  In each pair (stanzas 1 and 2, stanzas 3 and 4, and stanzas 5 and 6), the first line is the same and the second lines start with the same word and then have an opposite word (out/in, up/down, joy/sadness).  All the stanzas are three lines.

Stanzas seven through fourteen are the next set of stanzas.  In this set, the person’s perspective is shown in the odd stanzas, and the dog’s perspective is shown in the even.

In stanza seven, the person has the first thought of getting another dog.  In the eighth stanza, the dog waits.  In the ninth stanza, the person thinks of this more.  In the tenth stanza, the dog waits.  In the eleventh stanza, time passes.  In the twelfth stanza, the dog waits.  In the thirteenth stanza, the person goes to the shelter.  In the fourteenth stanza, the dog waits.

In stanzas seven through fourteen, the stanzas for the dog are all the same.

The next set of stanzas are stanzas fifteen and sixteen.

Stanza fifteen parallels stanza one, and has the same first two lines.  In this stanza (Behind the bars, looking out, seeing the face), the dog sees the person who has come to get it.

In the sixteenth stanza (In front of the bars, looking in, seeing the face), the person stands and sees the dog.  This stanza has the same second line as stanza two.

The last stanza is a combination of perspectives.  It shows the dog and person are happy again.

Experimental Poetry Form: five

Today’s experimental poetry form is called five.  It consists of five lines.

The first line of the poem has five words.

The second line of the poem has five syllables.

The third line of the poem has five iambic feet.

The fourth line of the poem has five letters.

The fifth line of the poem has five trochaic feet.

Here is an example poem:

The dog ran far away,
escaping the yard,
and all about the people looked for him.
Night.
Slowly walking minus canine friendship.

Experimental Poetry Form: puzzle pieces

Today’s experimental poetry form is called puzzle pieces.  The form works in a way such that the first part can be combined with the second part.

The poem is written as two stanzas.  The first stanza has five lines, each with four words.  The second stanza has five lines, each with one word.

Each stanza may or may not make sense on their own, however, if they are combined properly, the resulting stanza would make sense. They can be combined in such a way that the words from stanza two could become the end words for stanza one, with each stanza two word combining with its corresponding line in stanza one.  This is an element of the form.

Here is how the form looks:

****[A]
****[B]
****[C]
****[D]
****[E]

A
B
C
D
E

 

The *’s represent words in the first stanza.  The bracketed letters in the first stanza are place holders for the corresponding words in the second stanza.  In using the form, the bracketed letters would be blank spaces.  The bracketed letters represent the spaces where the words from stanza two would fit if they were written in stanza one (although they are not written in stanza one for the use of the form).  Again, being able to fit these words into stanza one, is an element of the form.

The idea of the form is to show a poem in pieces.  It is similar to a puzzle in pieces.  The first stanza represents the part of the puzzle that is mostly completed, and the second stanza represents the remaining pieces.

The idea is that while each part may or may not make sense on its own, the reader should be able to see how they fit together.  This adds to the effect of the poem by engaging the reader.

To make the form easier to use, a poet could write a five line one stanza poem with five words per line, and then transform it to this form.  Below is an example which illustrates this, as well as the general use of the form.

Below is an example poem with one stanza, with five lines and five words per line.

The cat hid so quietly
as the dogs moved quickly
it watched the danger move
knowing that its presence unseen
in the shadows vanished away.

 

To apply the form, this poem is then broken into two stanzas as follows:

The cat hid so
as the dogs moved
it watched the danger
knowing that its presence
in the shadows vanished

quietly
quickly
move
unseen
away

 

This new poem follows the form.  As can be seen, the end words from each of the first five lines became lines of their own as a second stanza.  If the words were put back, the poem would make sense.

As can be seen in this example, the form can be used such that the two stanzas of the form, both separately and together, as well as the combined part that would normally not be written for the reader, can each make sense.  Having the separate stanzas make sense each alone, as well as if read together, can be more difficult than simply writing the combined poem and then breaking it up without regard for how it reads in pieces, but if done, this adds to the effect of the poem.

Poem with an explanation: You who call in the night

You who call in the night,
what do you need?

Is it

  sustenance?
  a resolution?
  a warning of dread?
  an insignificance?
  just a presence?

You who call in the night,
what do you need?

 

This poem has two levels, the literal and the metaphorical.

On the literal level, the poem is about a simple idea: a dog outside a house barking with a sound to get attention.  The dog is the one who calls in the night, and the person in the house asks what the dog needs.

The person in the house believes the dog is barking so that:

  the person will bring the dog food
  the person will solve a problem for the dog (ex. something is caught on the dog’s collar)
  the person will be aware of something bad (ex. a storm, an animal, an intruder)
  the person will just listen, and there is nothing the dog needs,
  or the person will come outside and spend time with the dog.

When the dog barks, the person questions what the dog needs.  After the list of things, the person questions the dog again.  It is interesting, that at the end of the poem, the person does not actually see what the dog wants, nor does anything for the dog (at least it isn’t stated that they do).

On a metaphorical level, the poem could be seen as about a group in humanity calling out for help.  It could be refugees or the poor of some area or people affected by a war.  Although not equating the two, the poem uses the literal idea of a dog barking for something, to express the idea of the group calling out for help.

The group calls out in the night (from some place of darkness) and others in humanity who hear, question what they want.

As with the dog, they think the group is crying out for:

  aid (sustenance)
  a solving of what is causing their problem (a resolution)
  to warn others that what is harming them might harm others (a warning of dread)
  for no reason (from the perspective of the ones hearing – they may not realize the significance of the plight of the group and think their call is insignificant) (an insignificance)
  for intervention (just a presence).

Again, as with the dog, the ones who hear question the callers, but nothing is said if they help them or not.

The idea of the poem was to take something simple (a dog barking) and apply it to something significant (the plight of some group in humanity).

Poem with an explanation: Sitting down

Sitting down,
on the tomb like stone,
all is blurry,
in the singularity,
after a moment,
the summer solstice,
appearing in March,
a tornado,
from the hurricane,
to those in the stands,
it either makes sense,
or is foolishness,
but there,
on the tomb like stone,
all is blurry,
in the singularity.

Above is a poem.  Below is its explanation.  Before you read the explanation though, take a moment, and think about what you think the poem means.  Then, as you read the explanation, you can see how your interpretation of the poem compares with the intended meaning of the poem.

Did you think it meant something different?

Did you think it meant the same thing?

Were you surprised?

Was it what you expected?

If you find this exercise to be insightful in some way, the idea of comparing what you thought a poem meant compared to what the poet intended it to mean, you might consider writing a post for your blog about it.  You can link to this post if you want.  Please let M. Sakran know if you do, by using the Contact page.  Maybe you found some insight about how you read poems, or about the idea of intended meaning vs. interpreted meaning, or something else, that you thought might be good to share with your readers.  If so, consider sharing it with your readers.

If you like poems with explanations in general, you might consider purchasing a copy of M. Sakran’s self-published eBook, Understanding: poems with explanations, which contains twenty poems and explanations of those poems.

Here is the explanation of the poem:

This is a poem about a person whose pet has died in front of them.  The pet died of some illness.

The poem starts after the pet’s death.  The person is sitting down on the concrete (on the tomb like stone) beside their pet.  The concrete is tomb like because of the pet’s death.

The person is crying (all is blurry) and the moment they are having is intensely focused (in the singularity).  The person pauses (after a moment) and certain thoughts come to their mind.

The first idea is two expressions of the notion that death is completely expected, but still hits like a surprise.  Two metaphors for this are given.  The first is the summer solstice, appearing in March.  The summer solstice is a completely predictable event.  Even down to the minute for a given location.  Yet, in the poem, it comes early, at an unexpected time.  The summer solstice was used as a metaphor for death, because it is the longest day of the year.  Each day after that, until the winter solstice, gets darker and darker.  It is a metaphor for how the person feels.

The second metaphor shows the idea of something unpredictable, a tornado, from something predicable, a hurricane.  The idea here is that a hurricane is big and ominous, but can be tracked with some predictability.  This is like the general idea of death.  A tornado though is often a complete surprise.  This is like the idea of a specific death.  There is a difference between the general idea of something, and the specific instance of it happening.

After this, the person feels a moment of self-consciousness.  They imagine people seeing them on the ground crying (to those in the stands).  They either think that these people will understand the sadness and significance of their emotions (it either makes sense) or that the people will look at them like they are foolish for crying about a dog (or is foolishness).

This brief moment of self-consciousness ends though as the person comes back to their situation.  They stop thinking and just feel where they are.  They go back to how they started, on the concrete (on the tomb like stone), crying (all is blurry) and in an intensely focused moment (in the singularity).

In terms of form, some elements are:

Lines two, three and four are repeated as lines fourteen, fifteen and sixteen.

All lines are between two and five words long.

Seven of the sixteen lines, end in a word, starting with ‘s’.

 

Hopefully you enjoyed this poem with an explanation.