Poetic Forms. Introduction. Poetry is written in closed or open form . Closed form poetry is characterized by patterns: verse, rhyme, meter and/or syllable. The content fits into the form. Open form poetry is characterized by the lack of pattern. The content creates the form. Open Form Poetry.
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Cavalry Crossing a Ford
A line in long array where they wind betwixt green islands,
They take a serpentine course, their arms flash in the sun -- hark to the musical clank
Behold the silvery river, in it the splashing horses loitering stop to drink,
Behold the the brown-faced men, each group, each person a picture, the negligent rest on the saddles.
Some emerge on the opposite bank, others are just entering the ford --while,
Scarlet and blue and snowy white,
The guidon flags flutter gayly in the wind.
Walt Whitman, 1865
Lord, Who createdst man in wealth and store,Though foolishly he lost the same,Decaying more and more,Till he becameMost poore:With TheeO let me rise,As larks, harmoniously,And sing this day Thy victories:Then shall the fall further the flight in me.My tender age in sorrow did beginne;And still with sicknesses and shameThou didst so punish sinne,That I becameMost thinne.With TheeLet me combine,And feel this day Thy victorie;For, if I imp my wing on Thine,Affliction shall advance the flight in me.
water hang the
What A pale signal will appear
When Soon before its shadow fades
Where Here in this pool of opened eye
In us No Upon us As at the very edges
of where we take shape in the dark air
this object bares its image awakening ripples of recognition that will
brush darkness up into light
even after this bird this hour both drift by atop the perfect sad instant now
already passing out of sight
toward yet-untroubled reflection
this image bears its object darkening
into memorial shades Scattered bits of
light No of water Or something across
water Breaking up No Being regathered
soon Yet by then a swan will have
gone Yes out of mind into what
sudden dark as
if a swan
Swan and Shadow
The Red Wheelbarrow
so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
William Carlos Williams
1st line – 5 syllables
2nd line -- 7 syllables
3rd line -- 5 syllables
Implied identification of perceiver (poet) with perceived (subject)
Silent and still: then
Even sinking into rocks,
The cicada’s screech
Sleepless at Crown Point
All night this headland
Lunges into the rumpling
Capework of the wind
First line ends in proper name of place or person
1st, 2nd and 5th lines are anapestic trimeter: / / /
3rd and 4th lines are anapestic dimeter:
There was a young belle of old Natchez
Whose garments were always in patchez
When comment arose
On the state of her clothes
She drawled, When Ah itchez, Ah scratchez!
There was a young woman named Plunnery
Who rejoiced in the practice of gunnery
Till one day unobservant
She blew up a servant
And was forced to retire to a nunnery.
Octave -- presents problem
Sestet -- resolution or meditation upon problem
Octave -- abbaabba
Sestet-- cdecdeorcdccdcor cddcdd orvariation
English or Shakespearean
3Quatrains-- present similar images
Heroic Couplet-- pardoxical resolution
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;I lift my lids and all is bornagain.(I think I made you up inside my head.)The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,And arbitrary darkness gallops in:I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.I dreamed that you bewitched me into bedAnd sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.(I think I made you up inside my head.)God topples from the sky, hell's fires fade:Exit seraphim and Satan's men:I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.I fancied you'd return the way you said.But I grow old and I forget your name.(I think I made you up inside my head.)I should have loved a thunderbird instead;At least when spring comes they roar back again.I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.(I think I made you up inside my head.)Mad Girl's Love Song by Sylvia Plath
Was blessed heaven once, more than an islandThe grand, utopian dream of a noble mind.In that kind climate the mere thought of snowWas but a wedding cake; the youthful natives,Unable to conceive of Rochester,Made love, and were acrobatic in the making.
Dream as we may, there is far more to makingDo than some wistful reverie of an island,Especially now when hope lies with the RochesterGas and Electric Co., which doesn't mindSuch profitable weather, while the nativesSink, like Pompeians, under a world of snow.
The one thing indisputable here is snow,The single verity of heaven's making,Deeply indifferent to the dreams of the natives,And the torn hoarding-posters of some island.Under our igloo skies the frozen mindHolds to one truth: it is grey, and called Rochester.
No island fantasy survives Rochester,Where to the natives destiny is snowThat is neither to our mind nor of our making.
Here in this bleak city of Rochester,Where there are twenty-seven words for "snow,"Not all of them polite, the wayward mindBasks in some Yucatan of its own making,Some coppery, sleek lagoon, or cinnamon islandAlive with lemon tints and burnished natives,
And O that we were there. But here the nativesOf this grey, sunless city of RochesterHave sown whole mines of salt about their land(Bare ruined Carthage that it is) while snowComes down as if The Flood were in the making.Yet on that ocean Marvell called the mind
An ark sets forth which is itself the mind,Bound for some pungent green, some shore whose nativesBlend coriander, cayenne, mint in makingRoasts that would gladden the Earl of RochesterWith sinfulness, and melt a polar snow.It might be well to remember that an island
I watch the mama warming more tortillas for me. I watch her fingers in the flame for me. Near her mouth, I see a wrinkle speak of a man whose body serves the ants like she serves me, then more words from more wrinkles about children, words about this and that, flowing more easily from these other mouths. Each serves as a tremendous string around her, holding her together. They speak nani was this and that to me and I wonder just how much of me will die with her, what were the words I could have been, was. Her insides speak through a hundred wrinkles, now, more than she can bear, steel around her, shouting, then, What is this thing she serves? She asks me if I want more. I own no words to stop her. Even before I speak, she serves.
Sitting at her table, she serves the sopa de arroz to me instinctively, and I watch her, the absolute mama, and eat words I might have had to say more out of embarrassment. To speak, now-foreign words I used to speak, too, dribble down her mouth as she serves me albondigas. No more than a third are easy to me. By the stove she does something with words and looks at me only with her back. I am full. I tell her I taste the mint, and watch her speak smiles at the stove. All my words make her smile. Nani never serves herself, she only watches me with her skin, her hair. I ask for more.Nani by Alberto Rios