Tag Archives: formal poetry

There’s Nothing Else I Want (Adam’s Villanelle)

That burning image will forever haunt

My mind: within—beyond—my promised land,

Despite my fears, there’s nothing else I want.

I think it’s meant to grab my hate, to taunt

My urge to see why all alone it stands.

That burning image will forever haunt

My love. She comes to me (yet strangely gaunt)

And bears a gift clenched hard within her hand.

Despite my fears, there’s nothing else I want

But what she grips; too innocent to daunt

Me now.  I swoon to feel my mind expand

That burning image.  Will Forever haunt

Me as I rush towards my end? A jaunt

Disrupts; the plants disperse: all turned to sand.

Despite my fears, there’s nothing else I want

But this new choice. We erred and sinned to flaunt

Our free will.  Though—I’m now alone with her and—

That burning image will forever haunt

Despite my fears—there’s nothing else I want.

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We are the Numb

I

Come follow me into the wooded hills

Away from all the jargon, nonsense, noise

And re-use old forgotten paths with me

Past beer cans, past junk food wrappers, past gum,

Past dead cigarette butts that could have sparked

A fire here where lightning needs no help:

The forest outskirts are dry—dry as sex Continue reading


Sunday Morning Stranger in Your Bed: Tony Harrison

I saw a call for writers recently asking for “Twitter-sized” poems. I suppose crunching a thought into a 140 character poem is not so bad—after all, a haiku would have great difficulty reaching that length and most of my Word of the Day epigrams fit within this restriction—but it’s the premise that bothers me. Poetry requires form: something to separate it from prose. I’m not denouncing all free-verse and slam poems—I have seen both well-done…on occasion—but I see them as different art “forms” from the intellectual process of crafting chaos with the ordered form of poetry. One man keeping the formal fight alive with humourous couplets is British poet Tony Harrison.

Harrison was recommended to me by a Classical Literature professor at UBC not for any of Harrison’s translations of Greek plays (most notably Hecuba and the Oresteia), but for a poem about the Gulf War. The poem, “A Cold Coming”, is an imagined interview between Harrison and the charred remains of an Iraqi truck driver killed in a missile attack Continue reading


Lightning Hunter

 

I captured lightning after years

Of trying—pulled the trigger when

Nothing was in my sight but fears:

The wandering fear suspended in black night,

The fear of women, fear of men,

The fear of failure, fear that fate

Had wanted clockwise circles then

When I instead passed right.

So I in darkness hoped the gate

Of gods retired from careers

Of rage would not unlock too late.

They turned the key—gave me this light.


Daily Poem 24: The Magician

The Magician

 

Equipment’s ready: burner on,

Test tubes out, chemicals prepared;

My elements are marching pawns

To help me order chaos—dare

Frame a creation in strict lines

Looking unreal as clouds can be

Because the details are too fine:

They’re fallen drops of mercury

Exploding on the classroom floor

Vanished somewhere—to limbo streams

Of non-existent waiting or

To strands of web, forgotten meme.

The beasts—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—

Bellow fire, water, earth, and air

To fuel my furnace for divine

Blows from Mjöllnir.  With Thor’s brawn

My brain expands but does not tear

As new forms merge from old decline.

The Ravens watch—from Odin’s Tree—

The Coin turn Cup and Wand turn Sword,

While I, Magician, hiss to seem

To speak, and smile my work to see:

Another room, another door

To build a Palace in your dreams.


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