Friday, April 26, 2019

Three Rondeaux

my situation otherwise*
my situation otherwise is simply what
occurs each time I think I have exhausted
ways to demonstrate my idiocy, which
bit of hubris seems of a sudden to require
conscious re-activation of what is,
in fact, in me, ongoingly, a ruthless
subterranean mining excavation bent
(on revealing the infinite inexhaustibility
of my idiocy – which pursuit, now
enlivened, effortlessly egests more proof
of it, lest I should ever unhumbly think
my situation otherwise.)

beyond the blindest grope
Beyond the blindest grope! no greater call
when I have seen the ravages of all
I do not know, spread out syntactically
unbeautifully: half-clauses so impractically
half-glued into the ghastliest of junctures,
unrepentant, brashly stupid punctures
prickle on the surface, stab deep in
(trickle fluids over pebbled skin,
drip down in obeisance to parity
with gravity, lacking linearity
of thought or other trace of scope
beyond the blindest grope – )

in the dying of the light
in the dying of the light, no greater call
than that to clean the mind up, find reason
for a wind-up, achieve capacity at some
point to believe that there’s a time
to stop that’s not a stage prop in a play
suspending showy effluences of
a playwright’s way with words.
(Should that rhyme with birds
or thirds or turds? What girds
us into battle when we near the end?
What fight is left to fight
in the dying of the light?)


* Every once in a while, I go all weirdly meticulous and “academic” with poetry. I don’t ever do it well for two reasons. Unaided by Google, I don’t know enough about poetic form and metrics and the rest of it to have anything approaching an easy grasp of it (if it sometimes appears as if I do, it’s because Google is God, permitting an assiduous-seeming investigation that can be done in a few minutes and can pull the wool over many eyes, though not those belonging to Reed Woodhouse). Anyway, I wondered when I was done with the first draft of this tripartite thing, each stanza really a separate poem of twelve lines, what if any label there might be for a twelve line poem. I could find only one: The Rondeau Prime, which at least as described by one Lawrence Eberhart in a thread called “Poetry Forms” in the site “is a short variation of the Rondeau originating in 13th century France. It allows more rhyme than the Rondeau, but incorporates its defining feature of the integration of the rentrement. (opening phrase of the first line which is repeated as a refrain.) The Rondeau Prime is: ○ in French syllabic, in English tends to be iambic meter, line length is optional as long as the lines are relatively equal, with the exception of the shorter rentrement. ○ 12 lines, made up of a septet (7 lines) followed by a cinquain (5 lines). ○ rhymed, rhyme scheme abbccbR abbaR, R being the rentrement.
I wasn’t about to futz with that rhyme scheme in any of these three forays into form. Actually, to my mind what I wanted to do was more interesting. There would be no rhyme scheme to speak of in the first poem, “My Situation Otherwise.” “Beyond the Blindest Grope” would by contrast be a sort of strict nursery rhyme aabbccddeeff – rhymed couplets, that is. The third one, “In the Dying of the Light,” is Guy rhyme – you’ll recognize it from what I usually do. I liked the mix of that soundwise. It made the poems hold onto their autonomy. I did like, in each, wheedling in the idea of the septet followed by a cinquain, and, never the subtle poetic wheedler, I proceeded both to italicize and parenthesize those last five lines in each of these Rondeaus Prime.  That structural break: with its set up of promise in the first seven lines, and presumably delivery of the promise in the last five (I’ve no idea if the poems delivered on that) was a set-up and pay-off that might tease you into buying it as real, rooted truth. And oh! the phenomenon of a “rentrement,” who can resist a refrain? Rentrement – what a wonderful word to pronounce in French (I like all the French words meaning or suggesting re-entry or coming back that begin with those rich French sounds “re” (reviens, revenir, reconciliation) and “ren” (rendez-vous, rencontrer, renseignements).
With language that sounds like that, who cares what it means?
It’s apparent, perhaps should be dreadfully apparent, that “who cares what it means?” is probably my only theme these days. That alone should get me banned from the bookstores. Assuming I ever get into one again.

No comments: