#TheWombwellRainbow #PoeticFormsChallenge. It is weekly. Week Twenty form is a #masnavi (or mathnawi. I will post the challenge to create a first draft of a poetic form by the following late Sunday. Please email your first draft to me, including an updated short, third person bio and a short prose piece about the challenges you faced and how you overcame them. Except when I’m working at the supermarket I am always ready to help those that get stuck. I will blog my progress throughout the week. Hopefully it may help the stumped. Also below please find links to helpful websites.

the masnavi or mathnawi,

The guidelines:

Couplet (or two-line) form…
…but with the qualifier that each “line” is actually a “half-line” and that they rhyme horizontally
Each line is 10 or 11 syllables long (I believe it’s supposed to be consistent within the poem, so pick a number and stick with it)
Rhyme scheme is aa/bb/cc/dd and so on
No line length restrictions
I

Many examples of masnavi are very long poems. One of the more popular examples is Rumi’s Masnavi-ye-Ma’navi, which is a long spiritual or mystical poem.

Thankyou to the Writers Digest for this information.

Helpful Links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mathnawi

https://www.writersdigest.com/write-better-poetry/masnavi-or-mathnawi-poetic-forms

Masnavi Poem Type

Book Reviews by Spriha Kant: “These Random Acts of Wildness” by Paul Brookes

Thankyou to Spriha for this pre-publication review of “These Random Acts Of Wildness”

Fevers of the Mind

Review of Paul Brookes’s book “These Random Acts of Wildness” by “Spriha Kant”

This book consists of a collection of poetries. The poet in some poetries makes his readers travel in, around, and out of the different portions of the home including lawns, backyards, kitchen, etc., in some of which he shows glimpses of the chores and concludes the bitter truth of the world and/or one of the fundamental truths of existence that whatever is created is meant to be destroyed the one or the other day. Quoting the following few words and stanzas from a few such poetries: “His toy won't cut grass but safely glides over its length, so he stamps and bawls when his world don't conform to his straight lines, because it's bent. My wife says “Better” to our short shorn lawn. We all want the wild to be uniform.” “Organic time tamed, all about decay…

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Endechas

Jane Dougherty Writes

Paul Brookes chose the endecha for last week’s poetry form. The endecha (usually plural endechas) is a poem of Medieval Spanish Jewish origin, a lament intended to be sung. The stanzas are quatrains, of 7 7 7 and 11 syllables, rhyme scheme xaxa where x is unrhymed. It can be a full rhyme but is more usually consonance. I wrote one of each, a full rhyme endecha, and one using consonance instead. Since the poem is intended to be sung, it matters that the lines follow a rhythm which led me to write a third endecha where I tried to place the stresses so that the final eleven syllable line breaks naturally after seven syllables, leaving the final four syllables as a sort of plaintive echo. Given the origins of the poem, this seems like a reasonable interpretation.

Those who are gone

I can hear you in the wind
in…

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#TheWombwellRainbow #Poeticformschallenge last week was an #Endecha. Enjoy examples by Tim Fellows, Jane Dougherty, Robert Frede Kenter,Lesley Curwen and Aaron Bn, and read how they felt when writing one.

Night hours

In the heart of rolling dark
recall the comfort of hands,
the pulse in another’s neck,
the flagrance of sea breeze salting dusty land.

How Did It Go?

I found this short form quite difficult. The last line, being longer, is therefore freighted with meaning, and involved many rewrites. I think this form requires skills of brevity and punch I have not developed.

Lesley Curwen

Those who are gone

I can hear you in the wind
in the way the fox-bells chime,
the keening of survivors
the harrowing, dearth and the sorrowing time.

You were all around me once,
in the warm breath of the spring,
In the flight of birds, too high
to see their bright plumage, hear their voices sing.

You were young and old, lovely,
rainbows, storm-light in your eyes,
you sang the words, I listened,
to the ever-changing torrent, always wise.

Now there’s snow in the meadow,
no bird-sound, but all around,
the touch of dead hands wringing,
lips that murmur in the dark of holy ground.

Years turning

When will I see you again?
In the greening of the year
or at its turning? When snow
lies cold, unforgiving, and I wait, yearning?

For the years will keep turning,
russet red then green again,
and the road remains empty,
though my wishes throng the trees, leaf-stars aging.

To have wings

Black these cold and lightless days,
dirt-grey the clouds, sun rayless,
white the frost that furs the dead
leaf litter, that lies deer-scraped,
brown and rotting.

I wish a bird would lend me
the magic of feathered dance
night or day uncaring, I’d
toss these sorrows in the sea,
watch them drowning.

How did it go?

I got a bit carried away with this one, because I enjoyed the form. The endecha (usually plural endechas) is a poem of Medieval Spanish Jewish origin, a lament intended to be sung. The stanzas are quatrains, of 7 7 7 and 11 syllables, rhyme scheme xaxa where x is unrhymed. It can be a full rhyme but is more usually consonance. I wrote one of each, a full rhyme endecha, and one using consonance instead. Since the poem is intended to be sung, it matters that the lines follow a rhythm which led me to write a fourth endecha with the stresses placed so that the final eleven syllable line can break naturally after seven syllables, leaving the final four syllables as a sort of plaintive echo. Given the origins of the poem, this seems like a reasonable interpretation.

Jane Dougherty

Sunset through a window
You place your soul on a shelf
Tired and fraught you sit
On the floor is an empty shadow of yourself

How Did It Go?

This was my first time attempting to write an endecha poem and it was rather difficult but fun to try. While the rhyming pattern was similar to today’s poetry, I don’t believe my verse could be sung like a traditional endecha. Hopefully I captured a moment of lament.

Aaron
@VikingRaven78

Righteous
after Miguel Hernandez – “Adiós, hermanos, camaradas y amigos.
Despedidme del sol y de los trigos”

Final breaths rattle; chains tie
more skin than flesh, you have lost
your battle as war rages
far away, where others also bear the cost.
As you scrawl your final words
on prison walls, death trains roll.
In fascist plays, roles are cast,
innocents despatched, and Europe pays the toll.

Goodbye, brothers, comrades, friends:
my own fate is surely sealed;
I tried, I failed, now it’s time
to let me take my leave of sun and fields.
Breath has gone, cold lungs at rest;
eastward iron wheels still spin.
Leaders play their games of chess
but with fortitude, a righteous heart will win.

How Did It Go?

As this is a Spanish form, and a lament, I used the Spanish poet Miguel Hernandez as inspiration. He died of neglected tuberculosis in a Spanish jail in 1942, effectively murdered by Franco’s fascist regime. Elsewhere the Nazis were rounding up and murdering Jews (and others) and this also tied in to Holocaust Memorial Day. The form itself was surprisingly straightforward, albeit a little unbalanced.

Tim Fellows

Lament in the Time of Rain

Without hope, we struggle to
animate courage, waken
the heart’s grey beat in our chests,
everything we thought we knew had been taken

You stood at the door, in tears,
all was forgotten in mirrors,
memories spun through a loom,
tolling bells, life ending in complex powders

You were so young, so young, so
vibrant in Brussel’s Stomach
the grey wheel of rain falling
your restaurant plate filled with prawns and geddock

Stand forgotten, young, taken,
forgotten in time, so young,
the heart’s grey rain, uncertain,
inclement shadows pluck instruments, unstrung

How Did It Go?

Spent time (no pun intended) getting this poem to insinuate a café music; as soon as I read that it was a Spanish lament, the 15th century Endecha, (3 lines of 7 syllables, 4 line a/b/c/b rhyme stanza, line 4, 11 syllables) my goal / hope was to write something not too maudlin, and also linked armed stanzas, extended. It took time – successfully or not — to pull out tropes over-used, and move towards a diagonal, oblong precis on the loss of some variant of an urban high-life, of wine, song, stimulants, and old-school meter taxis, chased down in the rain. (After completing my work on this piece, I discovered, on further reading, the Endecha was a song form associated mostly with Sephardic Jews prior to and after their expulsion from Spain, at century’s end, which being my long-ago ancestor’s heritage, makes even more sense, an aha moment.)

Robert Frede Kenter

Bios and Links

Robert Frede Kenter

is a writer and visual artist. A Pushcart Nominee, published widely & internationally, based now in Canada, publisher of http://www.icefloepress.net. Tweets: @frede_kenter, IG:@r.f.k.vispocityshuffle

Lesley Curwen

is a broadcaster, poet and sailor living within sight of Plymouth Sound. Her poems have been published by Nine Pens, Arachne Press, Broken Sleep and GreenInk, and later this yea

Jane Dougherty

lives and works in southwest France. A Pushcart Prize nominee, her poems and stories have been published in magazines and journals including Ogham Stone, the Ekphrastic Review, Black Bough Poetry, ink sweat and tears, Gleam, Nightingale & Sparrow, Green Ink and Brilliant Flash Fiction. She blogs at https://janedougherty.wordpress.com/ Her poetry chapbooks, thicker than water and birds and other feathers were published in October and November 2020.

Tm Fellows

is a writer from Chesterfield in Derbyshire whose ideas are heavily influenced by his background in the local coalfields, where industry and nature lived side by side. His first pamphlet “Heritage” was published in 2019. His poetic influences range from Blake to Owen, Causley to Cooper-Clarke and more recently the idea of imagistic poetry and the work of Spanish poet Miguel Hernandez.

2/2 #BigGardenBirdwatch 27-29 January. Over these days please join Peter Donnelly, Andrew Darlington and I to celebrate our Garden Birds and count. I will feature your draft or published/unpublished poetry/short prose/artworks about your garden birds. Please include a short third person bio.

FROM INFINITY THEY COME

a pigeon sits in the field,
I think it might be hurt,
I crouch down to get real close,
talking to it as it watched me
with lazy half-asleep eyes,
it does not fly away,
eventually I stand and step back,
it waddles a few paces, it was fine,
nothing wrong with it,
maybe it was just tired?
but it lets me get up so very close,
that for a moment we are attuned
on a deep psychic level, bird
to birdbrain psycho-chemistry,
so that my mind has wings,
so my mind takes flight,
feather-brain, beak for nose,
I peek out through its lazy half-asleep
eyes and see my own ludicrous self,
know for sure it’s me that’s frayed,
it’s me that’s damaged
I should have known it all along…

By Andrew Darlington

Peacocks

It’s just their eyes
that look like those
of their namesake,
and not the eyes
of butterfly or bird,
but the ringed spots
on the wings of each,
or rather the feathers
of the fowl. They don’t halloo,
rarely stand still or close up.
It’s not them we think of
when we hear the word,
really only for the male bird,
like we think of a pair of compasses
as a compass, meaning
the geometrical kind,
forgetting the other exists.
One large, one small,
one mostly red, the other blue.
They are as similar as
a Jerusalem artichoke to an artichoke,
peppercorns to capsicums
or a pear to an avocado pear.

Heron at Fishergreen

Is it the same bird, he wonders
as he stands on the bridge as still
as I do in Priest Lane ford. The same man
who was there when I came here before,
though this time he wears
a turquoise fleece not a black
winter coat. Will he know it is me
I ask myself, when I disappoint him
as I did last time, as he takes his phone,
searches for the camera. I’ll turn
my head, fly away not towards him
as he gets it in focus. If he zooms in I’ll be
a blur, a silhouette in reverse, a cartoon.
I will haunt this place for him like a ghost.

Curlew

In Wales they used to fear my call
like the sight of a magpie
or the sound of an afternoon cock crow.

I can’t imagine why they call me gylfinir
there, for it sounds nothing like
the noise I make, cur-lee.

Now they dread the thought
of my demise, rejoice
at my return to the Yorkshire Dales.

Some think my name means running,
which I never do at all. My beak
catches worms as chopsticks do noodles,

or a pair of tweezers pulls out
an unwanted hair, which when closed
it could be said to resemble. Curved.

Seagulls

They’re supposed to come
to the country in winter
not to the city in summer,
yet I am woken at 4 am
by their screeching.

It’s as if they know
they are in the wrong place,
lost, can’t find their way home,
like the ghost of Catherine Earnshaw
pleading ‘Let me in’.

Their wings are lit up by sunlight
in blue sky in the evenings
of early July, like goldfish
as they fly past my window
which I watch like a tank.

All four poems above my Peter Donnelly

Bios and Links

Peter J Donnelly

lives in York where he works as a hospital secretary.  He has a degree in English Literature and a MA in Creative Writing from the University of Wales Lampeter.  His poetry has been published in various magazines and anthologies including Dreich, High Window,  Southlight,  Black Nore Review,  Obsessed with Pipework,  One Hand Clapping and Ink,  Sweat and Tears.  He won second prize in the Ripon Poetry Festival competition in 2021 and was a joint runner up in the Buzzwords open poetry competition in 2020.

Affordable Angst by Mercedes Cebrián Translated by Terence Dooley (Shearsman Books)

Tears in the Fence

This dual-language book selects from Mercedes Cebrián’s four collections published in Spain back to the mid-2000s. They’re poems about her nation and its changes since the end of Franco’s dictatorship. Healthcare, consumerism, globalisation, the EU, the hollowing of city centres, the Church, data access, relations with other countries…There’s even a poem called ‘Brexit’:

[…] no era
un ir y venir, era la diferencia
entre mutuo y recíproco. […]
(It wasn’t a to-and-fro-ing,/ it was the difference/ between mutual
and reciprocal)

Such big social subjects are treated with a surface cuteness that dissimulates a deeper (and darker) nexus. A poem about immigration links the arrival of kiwi-fruit to Spain with the arrival of Pakistani immigrants, and does so in a way that its phraseespecies de otros mundos(‘otherworld species’) and its excursus about chimpanzee smiles indicating hostility can be read as deniable, provocative or seriously unsavoury. Poems about regret for…

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Derek Coyle: Six Carlow Poems

The High Window

derek carlow cropped 2

*****

Derek Coyle has published poems in The Irish Times, Irish Pages, The Texas Literary Review, The Honest Ulsterman, Orbis, Skylight 47, Assaracus, The High Window and The Stony Thursday Book. He published his first collection, Reading John Ashbery in Costa Coffee Carlow in a dual-language edition in Tranas Sweden and Carlow Ireland in April 2019, and it was shortlisted for the Shine Strong 2020 poetry award. He lectures in Carlow College/St Patrick’s, Ireland. His second collection, Sipping Martinis under Mount Leinster is due in 2023.

*****

Introduction

‘After being raised on a sensibly robust and nourishing diet of grounded and tangible poetry for much of my adolescence and young manhood – Seamus Heaney, Patrick Kavanagh, and Derek Mahon in Ireland, and Akhmatova and Cavafy further afield – I took a strange turn towards the surreal and the fantastical in my maturity. Something…

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#BigGardenBirdwatch 27-29 January. Over these days please join Peter Donnelly, Su Zi and I to celebrate our Garden Birds and count. I will feature your draft or published/unpublished poetry/short prose/artworks about your garden birds. Please include a short third person bio.

Drudwen

I saw them once at Aberystwyth Pier,
before I knew what a murmuration was,
or even that they were starlings,
nevermind their Welsh name, or if they had one.
Again years later near the racecourse
as we walked by the canal.
Today they fly over your garden,
I was going to say like plumes of smoke
from your chiminea, then I see that
in fact it is smoke. When they come
in the other direction they are not camouflaged,
but like tea leaves in glass as the water’s poured,
or glitter in a snow globe.
It’s not their call you hear
but the flapping of their wings;
not the size of the flock that surprises,
but the birds themselves.

Fratercula Arctica

They call us sea parrots,
clowns of the sea. Yet we frown
like owls as we perch
on the cliff tops in spring, our beaks
newly orange like autumn leaves.

The Behaviour of the Birds

A duck sits still as a statue
in a city centre street,

a goose lays an egg
in the railway station.

A pigeon bangs against my window,
startles me less than a magpie

perched on a rooftop.
I forget to look away.

Even though the window’s shut
I still hear blackbirds chirp;

only the heron in the park
flies away when I try to take its photo.

All three poems by Peter Donnelly

Birds in the Garden

At first, it was one couple:
He with his bustle of storm clouds,
she a more demure gray, of doves maybe—
It was the doves that invited them, because
I was so generous with corn.
They tried to make children, and to hear her
cry at the broken nest
grief that echoes

And in the years where a yellow fluff would follow,
Such obvious humble pride.
the babies stay flightless fragile for months.

Every year, they reunite:
The sisters and cousins and
new babies fewer and fewer

So
years of food for them
Years of watching for yellow babies
of hearing the weeping
Until
Until this winter
when I am chosen

Here is food
Here is a safe space
My garden
For you I have made this
This for you

Video and poem by Su Zi

Bio and Links

Peter J Donnelly

lives in York where he works as a hospital secretary.  He has a degree in English Literature and a MA in Creative Writing from the University of Wales Lampeter.  His poetry has been published in various magazines and anthologies including Dreich, High Window,  Southlight,  Black Nore Review,  Obsessed with Pipework,  One Hand Clapping and Ink,  Sweat and Tears.  He won second prize in the Ripon Poetry Festival competition in 2021 and was a joint runner up in the Buzzwords open poetry competition in 2020.

Review of ‘These Random Acts of Wildness’

Many thankyous to Nigel for this pre publication review of my forthcoming chapbook “These Random Acts of Wildness”

Nigel Kent - Poet and Reviewer

As contemporary poets invent more and more forms for their poetry, it is perhaps surprising that the sonnet is undergoing something of a revival. Last year saw the publication of Hannah Lowe’s superb, award-winning The Kids , which demonstrated so well how this traditional form can be used for current content and now we have Paul Brookes’ Shakespearian sonnets in is latest collection, These Random Acts of Wildness (Glass Head Press, 2023) , which treat a range of enduring issues such as our experience of being alive and the nature of the natural environment.. His use of the form is as adept as Lowe’s, often concluding in memorable rhyming couplets, such as: ‘We collect the wild as ornamental/ Domesticate, put on a pedestal’; ‘My hard weight tames the uneven and wild/ makes it all proper, gentle meek and mild’; and ‘The wild dance of the swifts amongst the dead/ reminds…

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For Pavel and Six Million

Yesterday and today: Merril's historical musings

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

For Pavel and Six Million

He saw the last, one butterfly,
a flutter of gold, gone
again
like hope. Here it died, and blue sky
was a tale—once upon,
the end.

Yet still, his soul demanded write–
witness, record despair,
the whys
and soul-sighs, but also brief light
a flash in ash-filled air–
goodbyes.

For dVerse, a very difficult form called the memento. You can read about it here. Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and I felt I needed to mark it, especially now as authoritarian regimes are rising–and there are people in the US government who support them. There is a famous poem “The Butterfly” written by Pavel Friedman in Terezin. He was a young man born in Prague, January 7, 1921, and murdered in Auschwitz on September 29, 1944.

All my grandparents immigrated to the US from Belarus and Ukraine before WWI…

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