Lulu Fisher
Despite small alterations in its form, William Wordsworth’s “The Solitary Reaper” retains its function as a ballad. Typically, ballads are composed of quatrains with alternating lines of iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter and a rhyme scheme of ABCB. Instead, “The Solitary Reaper” consists of four octaves, eight-line stanzas, with lines that are for the most part in iambic tetrameter. And while the first four lines of each octave retain the ballad rhyme scheme, the last four lines are two couplets. Functioning as a ballad, “The Solitary Reaper” is a narrative: the speaker of the poem tells of a lone girl whom he witnesses reaping the season’s harvest. Though he never approaches the stranger like the wandering narrators of most Wordsworth’s ballads, he fixates on the song which she sings and he overhears. It is the girl, the solitary reaper’s, song that provides the basis for the rest of the poem.

the rest of 'Reaping Emotional Meaning' )
Lulu Fisher
30 September 2011 @ 06:34 pm
William Wordsworth’s lyrical ballad “We Are Seven” addresses the notion of death—more specifically, as seen in the opening stanza, the way in which children, simple and attuned to the feelings of being alive, perceive death. The remainder of the poem, as characteristic of ballads, takes the form of a narrative. The narrator, after posing the initial question, relates his encounter with an eight-year-old girl. Though he only asks to know how many children there are in her family, her answer is so perplexing they engage in philosophical discourse that is deceptively simple and childish.

the rest of 'To Be Is Being' )
Lulu Fisher
So aside from that one entry, I missed most of national poetry writing month.  But two days late won't hurt.
Our call to arms: the newly risen moon,
Her howl of provocation unrestrained.
We heed, haphazard: armor shed and strewn
along, familiar territory gained
with practiced hands, in earnest contours mapped,
two heartbeats shared like sonic booms resound
across the linen war zone, spirits rapt
with bliss inflicted, minds sensation-drowned.
But even we to sated dreams relent;
thus, white flag raised, we yield to deeper night.
With dawn's approach, She makes Her slow descent
until next She in mortals' blood ignite
the roiling taste for skin; with fresh desire
we'll charge once more and welcome friendly fire.
--English sonnet, October 2010
And here are two versions of the same-ish poem, written at very different times.
What the Moon Saw
Last night the moon seemed to say something
As across the water we watched the city burn
Distant flames licked our sea-chilled heels
And our breath was as salty as the wind
Blood rushed louder than the surf
Sweeping us in its rolling embrace
Calling us to depths starry as the sky
Neither and both sinking and floating
Earthbound bodies learned gravity's dance
In the gauzy fingers of celestial light
Feeling only sand and skin
And a pulse shared by two
What the moon said we both failed to hear
--free verse, September 2009
What the Moon Saw (Revisited)
Last night, the moon seemed to say something
as across the water we watched the city burn.
Nicotine exhalations replaced the meaningful words
I'd promised myself to say.
Across the water the city burned,
its flames silenced by my roaring thoughts.
I'd promised you once
that being alone doesn't mean being lonely.
But the silent flames and my roaring thoughts
drown in the star-strewn waves,
hissing of loneliness without being alone.
Like the moon is pulled to the earth--
isolated in the star-strewn skies--
a victim of uncontrollable gravity,
my body, waning, is pulled to yours
with no hope of ever reaching.
So I, the willing victim to gravity,
replace meaningful words with nicotine sighs,
giving up hope of ever finding courage:
Last night, neither the moon nor I could say,
"Hold me closer."
--pantoum, November 2010
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Current Music: Ludwig van - Sonate 15
Lulu Fisher
07 April 2011 @ 11:11 am
Seeing as how it's national poetry writing month, I ought to post something other than commentaries on British literature and fairy tale adaptations. Last year, I entered in The Chronicle of Higher Education poetry contest. The rules were plain and simple: write a poem in any form in response to John Keats's "On first looking into Chapman's Homer":

MUCH have I travell’d in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
That deep-brow’d Homer ruled as his demesne;
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He star’d at the Pacific—and all his men
Look’d at each other with a wild surmise—
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

A Petrarchan (that is, Italian) sonnet. Of course, I had to go and choose to write a Petrarchan sonnet myself to submit:

Through Muted Night the Quiet Dawn

If only, cleaving voids and heaven, could those eyes
a haven see past cosmic storms' obscurity;
perceive between the far-flung stars lucidity;
receive assurances divine from silent skies.
The jury, robed in thick abyss, unjust, denies
that mortal respite and relief from gravity
nor solitude. For she, in youth's naivety,
could not foresee dead ends untimely, love's goodbyes.
But she, in night's embrace of gossamer sleep, will find:
In dreams, not skyward prayer, can memories endure,
do heartfelt vows with whispering wind become entwined.
Though she may wake, her heart still hesitant, unsure,
the morning's gauzy fingers, radiant, extend
to dry the tears she's shed, that heart to gently mend.

I didn't win, or else that would've been one of the first things I'd say, but I did manage to get an honorable mention of sorts. Besides, Alyson Ark Iott won hands down. Her poem is like a slow burn, and hearing it is even more intense. Read and/or listen to it here.
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