#TheWombwellRainbow #Poeticformschallenge last week was a #Virelai. Enjoy examples by Robert Frede Kenter, Tim Fellows and Jane Dougherty and read how they felt when writing one.

The Haunted Infinite (A Virelai)

To the frightening place
In the empty space
You guess
Right time for the Ace
Cards with backs of lace
A mess
An old room encased
Photo of your face
No less

We empty out drawers
Scattered on the floors
Clothing
What’s pinned to the doors?
Last refuge of sores
Voting
Entreaties no more
Boot heels full of scores
Noting

The music of rain
Our hearts flow with pain
Bass notes
Melodies on Main
Drift into the veins
Old coats
Vibrate through their strains
Prokofiev gains
La Haute
The cuisine insane
Insensitive train
No votes

We wait one more hour
Observe final scour
The room
Shooting stars towers
Lightning thunder power
No plumes
Choking with valour
No more iron ore
Blank Moon

An absent abscess
For you to confess
To face
The children’s recess
Who lit the incense
The father’s incensed
The pace
Recedes in regress
Here comes the defense
Spray mace

How Did It Go?

I created a Virelai composed of 5 nonets. My goal was to insinuate a narrative, as the French form anticipates narratives of any length – one could imagine a novella composed of streams of nonets broken into chapter sections. I aimed for gaps, smudged or oblong erasure of details, but maintain a sense of jolt or shock, where the spaces between jump-cuts could interrogate and anticipate. My first attempt at this form.

– Robert Frede Kenter.

Winter day-dreaming

Cold of a winter day
cracks stone, ice in the bay,
deep as night.
We beg the sun to stay
and chase the chill away,
beaming bright,
but my heart’s heavy clay
no comfort in the grey
of frost’s bite.

I wake in morning light
with all the stars so bright
dimmed on high.
Silver and blue unite,
gold-threaded; pure delight
is this sky,
broidered with pigeon flight,
swirls of frilled ammonite
hung to dry.

Ice patterns butterfly
the panes, frost’s lullaby,
hear it play.
Till spring sun, in reply,
bursts, with a gentle sigh,
buds of May,
nut-brown and nut-shelled, by
blackbird-singing brook, I
will dream winter away.

The stupidity of youth

Youth fades too soon, alas,
old age will come to pass,
we all know,
to every lad and lass.
Tarnished all your strass
in the snow,
it looks so very crass,
dull and cheap as brass.
There you go.

When life goes by too slow,
we want it fast, although
at top speed,
adrenalin’s swift flow
that sets our blood aglow
we don’t heed,
and steer our course to woe,
to Thurles or Arklow
or Leed(s).

Wherever there’s a seed,
it turns into a weed
(I grimace),
of pride and senseless greed,
they’re just not what we need.
I preface
this with care, and I plead,
don’t do what makes you bleed.
Too late. Ass!

How Did It Go?

This was the most challenging form so far. I enjoy rhymes, but this form calls for so many (nine rhyming end words for a poem of nine-line stanzas) that the sense took very much second place to fitting in a rhyme. The first poem, which took hours to get (sort of) right, proves the point that Medieval French poetry is best left to Medieval French poets. I ended with a six-syllable line because I ran out of enthusiasm to find a three-syllable line that would ‘do’.
The second attempt proves a second point, that nonsense is much easier to write than poetry. It took me only a few minutes to write, but it’s rubbish.

Jane Dougherty

I found this one easier than the Rhupunt even though it is also quite restrictive. It is clearly based on a song rhythm, almost like a nursery rhyme in the way that it progresses. Creating these poems is not just a challenge in the format, it’s thinking of a subject. In this case I’ve returned to a familiar one, with many examples to select from.

The Monster

When there is no shame
and it’s all a game
of personal fame
and lies
it is we who pay
when they hide away
and we know that they
despise
the people they con
by fake lexicon
while their eyes are on
the prize

With his empty eyes
he’ll appear to try
to apologize
but he
has an empty heart
while he plays his part
rips some lives apart
with glee.
But what can we do
to point out what’s true
as he laughs at you
scot-free.

How Did It Go?

I found this one easier than the Rhupunt even though it is also quite restrictive. It is clearly based on a song rhythm, almost like a nursery rhyme in the way that it progresses. Creating these poems is not just a challenge in the format, it’s thinking of a subject. In this case I’ve returned to a familiar one, with many examples to select from.

Tim Fellows

 

Bios and Links

Robert Frede Kenter

is a widely published, pushcart-nominated poet, visual artist, editor and publisher (Ice Floe Press, http://www.icefloepress.net).

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