Friday, 25 November 2016

pillars of the earth



beside the road we walk, stand ancient oaks:
gnarled, crusted – stems of pewter gray
adorned with versicolored fluttered cloaks
– grand wizened sentinels – that awe the day …
battle scarred bark over amber heart –
having come as far as trees can come:
man’s masterpieces pale to nature’s art:
such majesty from seedlings, long begun …
they mesmerize me in their constancy
– cleansing air and holding up the sky –
while humankind inflicts inanity
on that which nature works to rectify. 

pillars of the earth, stir us to care
– gently – for this planet that we share.
I can't imagine anything more important
than air, water, soil, energy and biodiversity.
These are the things that keep us alive. 
- David Suzuki, Environmental Activist

~ ~ ~

It has been awhile since I have done a form poem, and so I resolved, this week, to take on a Petrarchan Sonnet:  the first 8 octave lines rhyme as follows (abbaabba) and the remaining 6 sestet lines can have either 2 or 3 rhyming sounds, arranged in a variety of ways (cdcdcd or cddcdc or cdecde or cdeced or cdcedc).  Oy!  After about an hour or so of that, it was time to dig out the relaxation scented candle and pour myself a … bubble bath.

OK, perhaps I over shot.  And thus, reinvigorated, I commenced a Spenserian Sonnet (ababbcbcc dcdee).  Now that’s more like it, I thought – only to discover, reading on: “Here, the "abab" pattern sets up distinct four-line groups, each of which develops a specific idea; however, the overlapping abc and d rhymes form the first 12 lines into a single unit with a separated final couplet.”  H-m-m-m.


Geez, talk about your show-offs!  All of which is by way of explaining, how I ended up back – yet again – at the door of my old reliable go-to Sonnet Guy.  You know who I’m talking about … “Oh, Bill … about that sonnet form of yours, you know, the simplest and most flexible sonnet of them all, consisting of 3 quatrains of alternating rhyme and a couplet.  Now that’s a sonnet form!” – Smiles

note:  a Shakespearean Sonnet 

photo and graphic: Pillars of the Earth - W. Bourke and Head Doodling Cartoon - W. Bourke

© 2016 Wendy Bourke

23 comments:

  1. the couplet says it all..only if the human kind were a bit sensible...sigh
    thoroughly enjoyed your note Wendy...

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  2. Nature's art is priceless as well as her gifts ~ A relevant message Wendy !

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  4. A beautiful reflection as nature calls us back

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  5. Your sonnet really makes me see the beauty and the majesty of a tree as well as to contemplate the truth within its pillars! (Nicely penned sonnet!)

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  6. Wendy, I absolutely love this poem, the trees trying so hard to rectify all our disasters..........they must get exhausted. I admire your expertise with the form which sounds impossibly complicated to me. Well done.

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    1. Thanks, Sherry. I confess – though many of my “old favorites” are form poems (or at least, follow a fairly rigid form and rhyming scheme) – form poems do not come second nature to me. But, as you know, a number of poets at Poets United are so skilled at form poems and so outstanding at rhyme, that I do try – from time to time – to give various forms – and/or rhyming schemes – a bit of a-go. As my note, points out: they are a challenge for me and the exercise, leaves me in awe of my fellow poets whose form pieces seem to flow so effortlessly.

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  7. having come as far as trees can come:...that stood out for me...makes me wonder how far we have to go, to go as far as humans can.. lovely, thank you.

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  8. battle scarred bark over amber heart –
    having come as far as trees can come:
    man’s masterpieces pale to nature’s art:

    Gorgeous phrasing here, Wendy 💝

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  9. Form sounds so complicated - why I avoid it ;) I love however the sense of being under that tree - how it has colour but in some lights it looks black and white..like a different reality.. almost suffocating in it's desire to breathe and be

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  10. This is one of my favorite poems by you, Wendy. I love the amount of truth it grows, the ending plea, the way in which it expresses our need for better things when it comes to nature and how we relate to it.

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  11. Good job Wendy, good job! Form poetry is work that often yields
    creativity in structure.
    ZQ

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  12. I love your use of form, and the rhyme scheme is what you do it too... one of the tricks is of course to make the poem less a slave under the form, that make the sonnet natural and free... you have done this with great success... I love the way you make it philosophic rather than the love that build many of the classical sonnet... the oak have such might (especially when leafs have gone)

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  13. Absolutely love this poem. It's about one of my favorite subjects and is extremely well-crafted. Utterly satisfying.

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  14. I think the form worked perfectly for your subject. I absolutely loved this part of the sonnet.

    battle scarred bark over amber heart –
    having come as far as trees can come:
    man’s masterpieces pale to nature’s art:
    such majesty from seedlings, long begun …

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  15. having come as far as trees can come:
    man’s masterpieces pale to nature’s art:

    Very interesting revelation Wendy! Yes, nature's beauty beats
    anything created by human hands!

    Hank

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  16. I used to be far too scared to try sonnets, until Sam Peralta taught us all to do them over at dVerse a few years back, and I found myself turning out all kinds of variations. I like your Shakespearian one here, and didn't immediately notice it was a sonnet because the subject matter and beautiful language took all my attention.

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  17. Luv trees, luv your image of them holding up the sky. Humanity does need to step up and be much more concerning of our environment

    much love...

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  18. i find a sonnet difficult to write. but your effort seems so... natural.
    learned some new things from the notes, and yes, i liked the cartoon, loved that crooked smile on the face. :)

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  19. Beautifully written truth.. that constantly trying to balance out the damage we have done... what a heavy burden we have placed on these souls crying for their mothers life...bkm

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  20. I too find sonnets difficult to write--this was beautifully done Wendy--I love trees and I love poems about them

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  21. Impressive, Wendy. Powerful lines:

    while humankind inflicts inanity
    on that which nature works to rectify.

    pillars of the earth, choke our dark lies,
    so we might see the truth before our eyes

    And I love your sonnets note and cartoon…Sonnet Guy! I see that you drew the cartoon too. How multitalented you are.

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