Friday, March 29, 2013

Quinzaine: Truth in Fairy Tales

Fairy tales are based in truths.
Is yours such a tale?
What's your truth?

Adults need fairy tales, too.
Can only children
see the truth?

Fairy tale magic exists.
Is not magic true?
What's your tale?

Fairy tales hold truth within.
Do you believe in
fairy tales?

A note on form:  I came across the quinzaine approximately two and half years ago.  It's a short form consisting of only fifteen syllables.  As with any short poem, such confinement can be quite tricky.  The first line (7 syllables) is a statement; the next two lines (5 and 3 syllables) are a question related to the first line.  Upon first coming across this form, there seemed to be no definite on whether the two lines together made the question or if they had to be two separate questions.

Thoughts on writing in form:  So, without any definitive, I have always written in pairs (or an even grouping); one poem containing a single question and one poem containing two separate questions.  Writing two questions, when one is limited to three syllables is hard.  So when I wrote the first two for this grouping, I ended up with a pair containing only one question a piece.  That was about five months ago.  I tucked them away knowing I'd eventually come back to them (because with out their counterparts I could not allow them to exist--crazy, I know).  And so I did find my way back.  In the process,  I ended up altered the first line of one of them (#2), but still used it with one of the new ones (#3).

Unearthing themes:  Since I've always written these in pairs (or even groupings), having a theme to tie them together seems only natural.  In many cases the theme becomes the Title of the series.  As I reviewed the original two, which were written to "fairy tales" as the theme, I noticed that there was another thread linking the two together.  So while constructing the additional poems, I tried to incorporate "truth" in as well.  This of course meant both themes would somehow stand together for the title.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Faded Memories (Ribbon-Bound Letters)

mem'ries unravel
in a tattered—threadbare—mind
stealing away precious words

love unfolds within
tissue thin—tear stained—pages
holding safe those precious words

A note on form: This little number is an attempt at a sedōka. There is very little on the form outside of the fact that it is Japanese and predates the haiku. It is formed by two katauta (5-7-7). While there may be different takes on the form, I have always composed it as two separate (yet conjoined) poems focused on looking at the same entity from different perspectives. My initial introduction to this form was from the website Shadow Poetry.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Volcanic Eruption

Evil spawns new life in light'ning's wake,
rising up from molten death  earth quakes.
Writhing forth, as slumbers hold abates,
demon wings unfurl and stretch.
                                          (the fates
deem the time has come  prepare to snip
threads of helpless lives as red tears drip;
spreading fear sets in.)
                               Each crack of bone
rolls like thunder  dormant joints now moan,
stolen from their sleep.  The creature throws
off its ashen blanket; darkness grows
drawing clouds around its giant form.
Raised arms, clenched fists, puffed chest, call the storm.
Brazen fractals light the pluming cloud
looming 'round the monster like a shroud.
Few can see his head tilt back and laugh
(evilly) he carves out epitaphs.

A note on form:  The above construction is a twist on a form; I had this inkling to toy with Framed Couplets.  The form was introduced to me by Gay Reiser Cannon (aka beachanny) during one of her lovely post for dVerse Poets Pub's FormforAll.  While I am not really one for writing in strict meter or rhyme (of which this form has both), something about this form speaks to me.  As I mentioned this is a twist on the form; it may be more aptly named "Chained Couplets."  While I maintained the meter of the form, I altered the rhyme pattern slightly.  The original form uses pairs of line where the first words and last syllables of the pair rhyme--thus the idea of "framed" couplets.  I maintained the end rhyme (first with second, third with fourth, and so on), but I shifted the initial rhyme (second with third, fourth with fifth, and so on).  In addition, I used the same initial sound as the the start of the first and last line to act as sort of a clasp in the chain.

Thoughts on writing in form:  I once tweeted, "it's amazing how one can loose sight of somethings true purpose when trying to conform."  This piece is an example of how I felt as the form took over the writing.  I'm not sure how "the fates" made their way into this piece.  I was also quite stuck on how they would lead me back to the original image that lay behind this poem.  Even now, after suffering their appearance, I'm not 100% sold on them.  Yet, they do make an excellent link to the last maybe their unexpected arrival was not so bad.  Sometimes I do wonder what a poem might have actually turned out to be if I had neglected to adhere to a specific form.

Inspiration for this piece:  I was Flip(board)ing through some photos looking for something that might spark a bit of inspiration.  In doing so, I came across some amazing photos of lightening over the Sakurajima in Japan.  There, in the ashen clouds adorning this monster, I could see shapes take form--in a fashion similar to looking at the clouds to discover rabbits, flowers, or dragons.  What I saw in the billowing masses was a figure rising from the volcano.  Below I have included the original image, along with one I tweaked slightly (altering its brightness, contrast and tint) to allow for the form to shine through a bit more clearly for others who do not have my crazy vision.

photo taken by Martin Rietze

Thursday, March 21, 2013


I figured to get things started off, I would begin with a poem that helped inspire the title of this blog.

Weapon of Choice
a writer of prose
gathers his words around him like an arsenal
strategically placing all about
surrounded you with intense imagery
striking the senses from the outside in
intent on bringing you into the scene of events
like an opponent who works to anticipate offenses
making meaning in order to walk away from the battle
better for being a part of it
a writer of poetry
chooses his words like the feathers of an arrow
strategically creating the perfect balance
allowing it to pierce the air with ease
striking you straight through the heart
                                        the mind
                                         the soul
the poisoned tip assaulting you from the inside out
like an enemy coursing through your blood stream
penetrating your defenses before you know what hit you
no matter the weapon the writer chooses
should his aim be true
he'll bring you to your knees
with the beauty he ignites
the darkness he inflicts

© rmp - September 2011