Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Month of Poetry #16: A kyrielle

Still waxing poetical, and I'm finding that I'm quite enjoying trying my hand at different verse forms this month. Some, such as haiku, I deeply love writing and will work at improving my technique further. Others, such as the sonnet form, I've discovered don't really suit my poetic voice.

Today I tried a kyrielle. Kyrielles are poems written in 4-line stanzas that usually rhyme aabb, although abab is also permitted. The key feature of a kyrielle, and the source of its name, is the repetition of the last line of the first stanza as the last line of each subsequent stanza. In this way, the poem follows the pattern of a kyrie-form prayer, which is a prayer in which each section closes with the same words (eg "kyrie eleison": "Lord have mercy on us").

The rhyme pattern is less challenging than, say, a villanelle, because the aa lines don't have to have the same rhyming sound in each stanza (the bb lines do, naturally, to preserve the kyrie as the final line). The syllable counting is far less rigorous than haiku, and the meter is not as fixed as sonnet. The main challenge is to find a powerful enough kyrie line to hold the poem together.

So here is my attempt at a kyrielle. My poems have been revolving around summerish themes this month - from my haikus on new year and bushfires, to my free-form, Snake, and the villanelle on a summer schoolyard - so I am trying to do a seasonal flip and invoke some ice with this one.

Winter Without

Concrete skies are bringing far-flung sleet
Torn boots will not today protect sore feet
In summer young, now looking bitter old,
The day is short, the night is such hard cold.

Hot soup in mugs, with seeded bread to soak
A hint of moving blood in hands invoke
Leaving, ghostly, gone before you're told
The day is short, the night is such hard cold.

Morning ice is beautiful and hurts
Thin keening of ice-wind in sharp concerts
So little left to barter, still unsold
The day is short, the night is such hard cold.

Wandering is strangest, harshest now
Past what love and reason can allow
Rain-bearing sunsets shine with trickster's gold
The day is short, the night is such hard cold.

Folded up in rugs and clothes and mud
A daily war with in and outer flood
Epic stories stay, it seems, untold
The day is short, the night is such hard cold.

- Kathy, 16/1/13

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