Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A Madrigal for the Future, Supposing it Exists (Poem)

Time for a new poetry form challenge, as my last four poems have all been sestinas and I'm starting to get the hang of them now (so need to mix it up!) My sestinas, incidentally, have been Flood, Lovesong Sestina, one I haven't published here called Psyche on the Mountain, and Bronte Beach Sestina. Of them, I'm happiest with Lovesong Sestina, although I think the Psyche one will come along with a bit more work. (It's for my forthcoming Women of Story collection).

So this time I am going to try a Madrigal. These come in both the English and Italian varieties, but I am sticking to the pattern used in English. It's absolutely fiendish, but here it is:

Line 1: A
Line 2: B1
Line 3: B2

Line 4: a
Line 5: b
Line 6: A
Line 7: B1

Line 8: a
Line 9: b
Line 10: b
Line 11: A
Line 12: B1
Line 13: B2

The capitals represent words that have to repeated, whereas the lower-case letters represent a rhyme sound. So, effectively, you have only two "sounds" in the entire poem - your A and B sounds - and indeed only eight actual end words with all the repetitions ("A" and "B1" get used three times apiece, and "B2" gets used twice).

It's a very restrictive form and is meant to be written in iambic pentameter too, just for kicks. Probably the most well-known proponent of it in English is Chaucer, but I refuse to go for a Chaucerian effect here!

So ... here goes my attempt at a madrigal. I have gone slightly whimsical and futuristic in theme, because it seems pleasantly incongruous with such a traditional form.

A Madrigal for the Future, Supposing it Exists 

some live in the light of a doubled sun
and eat phosphorescent lover-fruit, starlight grown
so far and far the terrestrial seed was sown;

some live on the interstellar run
in fat-bellied ships and stations in the zone
and never walk beneath a native sun
and raise their children, floating, porous-grown

so strange, to think, that there was only one -
a first and natal, blue-skimmed chunk of stone
a birther mythos for them all to own
only dust, now, under that first sun
the used-up husk from which the pod was grown
a barren harvest reaped from what was sown.

- Kathy, 4/10/17

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