Friday, 29 August 2014

Too late wise and too soon dead

(A triolet in iambic tetrameter)



The drizzle rainfall wept forlorn: 
Upon the hour of his death 
As if the whole world stopped to mourn 
The drizzle rainfall wept forlorn 
Brokenhearted, lost, careworn 
In aching stabs of jagged breath 
The drizzle rainfall wept forlorn 
Upon the hour of his death.

The journey short, though it seemed long:
Too late wise, and too soon dead
The way, not clearly right – nor wrong
The journey short, though it seemed long
The passion, neither weak – nor strong
The loving words, that went unsaid 
The journey short, though it seemed long
Too late wise, and too soon dead.

The drizzle rainfall wept forlorn:
Too late wise, and too soon dead 
The bond perceived, as it was torn
The drizzle rainfall wept forlorn
The loss, more than a heart could mourn
Regret:  more than her tears could shed
The drizzle rainfall wept forlorn . . .
Upon the hour of his death.

notes:  the title for this triolet in three stanzas, is from an expression a German professor I knew, would often utter (to humorous effect):  zu spät klug - zu früh tot, which I gather means: too late smart – too soon dead. Often those words have come back to me.   So very true, about so many things in life.

After considerable thought, I have decided to take a bit of poetic license in the last line of the third stanza.  It, of course should be:  Too late wise, and too soon dead.  And yet: Upon the hour of his death, kept calling to me and I simply, like it better this way.  Smiles.

photo:  Too soon dead - W. Bourke

© 2014 Wendy Bourke


7 comments:

  1. "The drizzle rainfall wept forlorn / Upon the hour of his death."...the lines speak of an aching loneliness of the person spoken about...the title repeated several times in the poem adds a new dimension to it...

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  2. I like this a lot.. How the triolet that usually is light and romantic is used to express sorrow and dread. The last stanza that weave it together goes deeper and deeper into the loss. Very well written.

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    1. Good point! The (I guess you could call it) “classic” triolet theme or inspiration is something I wrestled with, a bit, because I, personally, find repetition in poetry forms such as the Triolet and Villanelle (in modern day poems, at any rate) rather haunting (as opposed to light and romantic) and, indeed, I started down that path. But the mind goes, where the mind goes and I ended up with a light “nod” to “zu spät klug - zu früh tot” (too late wise – too soon dead) which was expressed to me as a tongue-in-cheek observation about how life rolls out; and the “at the hour of his death” realization of the shared bond (sad, but somewhat romantic) though it has come at the end of life. “She” too late wise and “He” too soon dead. So often people miss out on that which is staring them in the face, never imagining that their time is limited. That insight, often coming to them, too late.

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  3. what an interesting play off of that quote he would mumble...i think we do learn much over our lives...and wish we learned it while we still had the stamina of youth....smiles...your verse is quite evocative...and the form only adds to that....

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  4. You don't cease to amaze. I like how you used the form to enhance the message of a sagacious life point. Excellent work.

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    1. In all honesty, I am not the world's biggest fan of form poetry - though, following other poets on line, I have read some beautiful form pieces. I do, however, love a smattering of rhyme/near rhyme in my poems and (similar to responding to posted poetry prompts on poetry forums) I regard the various forms (almost always rhymed) as a challenge. Thus, I am slowly working my way through some of the more well known styles. I so appreciate the support of my humble efforts (as one often feels a bit out of one's depth when one stretches creatively). Thank you.

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  5. Nice to see you writing a triolet, Wendy. So sad about the loving words remaining unsaid. Not a good thing, as (as you said) a person is too late wise and too soon dead. The hands of time keep turning.

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