Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Terza Rima for The Stretch

Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect set a difficult challenge for yesterday's Monday Poetry Stretch: terza rima. It's a form that pulls you forward, because the rhyme scheme goes like this:


It's built of tercets - and the second lines of each stanza rhyme with the first and third lines of the next. An elegant form, as Dante proved. Here is my terza rima: it's an interesting experiment, but the form deserves better - my rhymes are too loud. I'm looking forward to seeing other responses linked over at Tricia's site.

The Doctor Says, "He Has Meningitis”

Something flies across the frame.
Then it's gone—the day appears
then disappears. Same

as most days. But when I clear
my throat, the hospital wall
sways. And when I near

the sill, something hits: small,
a bird's body, a bird’s eye.
How strange life is when all

the world seems to be dying.
Today it's a sparrow fooled
by glass. I blame the light.

The story's true:
The child lives.
But the bird dies. And the view.


  1. Well,here's one I just composed,not a perfect terza rima, but close:

    Cheny Confesses

    Waterboarding is okay,
    He does not rule it out.
    He said it in an interview today.

    His voice was low; a shout
    Would have been more apt.
    The world still spun about,

    And men in baseball caps,
    Woman pushing prams,
    Did not fall into chasms, gaps.

    The world on rollinng cams
    Did not forget to fly.
    No lions lay with lambs.

    And should you wonder why—
    Because he told the awful truth
    At last and did not lie.
    And did not, as you , as I
    would from a lightning strike, or sheer embarrassment,
    just lay down and die.

  2. Jane, that is wonderful. People in the future will be shaking their heads in disbelief and wondering why certain leaders weren't thrown into jail, charged with crimes against humanity. But at least we can leave a record of how we feel, via poetry. Since we're talking political, here, I'll offer you my jump-rope rhymes, dedicated to the current administration. Mr. Cheney puts in an appearance. Maybe I shouldn't post this on line - hope the language does not offend people.


    Three Jump-Rope Rhymes
    for the Current Administration

    One bitter pill,
    two black towers,
    three big cheers
    for presidential power,
    four horsemen riding
    four dark mounts,
    five six seven eight,
    we all lose count.
    When Condaleeza sneezes,
    slap her on the back.
    We’re bombing the bejeezus
    out of Iraq.
    W and Cheney
    and blind Donny Rum
    got us in a pickle there,
    the old crumb bums.
    Silver-spooned Yalies,
    those sons of bitches,
    Feeding us bullshit
    and saying it’s delicious.
    Hurricanes came.
    Hurricanes went.
    All of Bush’s buddies
    sat on a fence.
    Brownie was a crony,
    Brownie was a dope.
    Sat on his keister
    when the levee broke.
    When water poured in,
    Brownie ran out.
    Rain barrel, pork barrel,
    hit him on the snout.

  3. My--those are delicious and anarchic. Maybe we are onto something. An anthology?

  4. You both need to read some of the pre-election posts that Elaine (Wild Rose Reader) wrote. There was quite of bit of discontent with the current administration, and the republican ticket.

    I'm so glad you both played!

  5. That is, yes, Jane, an anthology! There must be enough for one that's Norton-sized!

    And Tricia, yes, I love Elaine's political poems at Wild Rose Reader.

  6. These are great! Poetry is the perfect place to let 'er rip! I looking for that anthology before the anger cools...

  7. Julie, The Doctor Says is fabulous. I didn't find the rhymes too loud at all, but maybe I just like loud rhymes:>) Anyway, this totally put me in that moment where the whole prism shifts and life will never be the same again, because suddenly you know your vulnerability and will never be fearless again. Even if this instance turns out ok, as it does here, your carefree life is gone. Wow. This is one of my favorite poems I've read recently. I really love it.

  8. Thank you, Laura - you got to the heart of it. A difficult passage.