Definition

One must make a distinction however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry, nor till the autocrats among us can be “literalists of the imagination”—above insolence and triviality and can present for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have it.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Sunday Mini-Challenge

Last week we focused on the four-line form of stanza, known as the Envelope Quatrain, and I would like us to consider the possibilities of other quatrain forms today. Despite the quatrain's perennial popularity among  poets, it can be fairly limiting, as there are only so many rhyme variations possible:

Alternate:
a b a b
a b x b

Couplet:
a a b b

Envelope:
a b b a

And various combinations:
a b c b    d e c e
a a b a    b b c b
a b c d    a b c d

© Kenia Cris


While I was searching for a poetical form which consists of only 4 lines, I came across a genre of Chinese poetry called Midnight Songs.  A collection of these poems under the title "Lady Midnight" appeared in the 4th Century AD, and were popularized by famous poets, such as Li Po. The poems are arranged into four sections for the four seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter. Thematically, they represent four views of the seasons. They are written in four lines (paired couplets), each of which consists of 5 Chinese characters, known as yuefu.


© Ellen Wilson


This information led me on to discover a similar form called Jueju. Jue Ju is one of the oldest of the Chinese patterns and in the 3rd century AD the Jue Ju was very popular. It often carried "suggestively erotic themes". It does not tell a story but attempts to create a mood. This example is given on Poetry Magnum Opus:

Autumn Moon by Cheng Hao
(translated by Xiao-zhen, Nov 2009)

Over green hills a limpid brook flows
Sky mirrored in the water of autumn hue
Away from the distant earthly world
Maple leaves and velvet clouds leisurely float


© Teresa Perin

If one is to attempt an English version of this poetic style, the following guidelines are offered:

Line length: 5 words per line
Lines per stanza: 4
Theme: Often suggestive of erotic love
Rhyme scheme: couplets or unrhymed


© Hannah Gosselin


Our challenge for today is to write either a four-lined poem, following the Chinese forms described above, or to write a longer poem, in rhyming quatrains, using any of the variations mentioned.
I have also included the photographic talents of several of our Real Toads Members and Followers. Remember to acknowledge the name of the photographer on your blog, if you decide to use an image as inspiration for your poem.
The Sunday Challenge is posted on Saturday at noon CST to allow extra time for the form challenge. Please provide a link on your blog back to Real Toads. We stipulate that only poems written for this challenge may be added to the Mr Linky. Management reserves the right to remove unrelated links, but invites you to share a poem of your choice on Open Link Monday.

23 comments:

Hannah said...

Wow...the garden is so serene...silent one might say. It is a gray day here...thankful for the passion-stirring prompt today. Thank you, Kerry and fellow photo sharing Toads! :) Happy weekend!

Helen said...

Looks like the "H" ladies have arrived!!!

hedgewitch said...

Very interesting, Kerry. Thank you for putting this together for us. I find the two Chinese forms intriguing--I'm always fond of word and syllable counting forms. Have had a long tiring day, but will see if anything bubbles up for tomorrow. I love all three of those photos--they are lovely.

Fireblossom said...

Dagnabbit. ANOTHER Oriental form for me to hate.

Fireblossom said...

Kerry hates me. *cries*

Audrey Howitt aka Divalounger said...

I am a little late to the garden--today was a teaching day

aprille said...

Love them.
Tough but satisfying.
Did this one while watching a prequel to Morse.
Probably shows :-)

It's way past my bedtime, so visits tomorrow.
Thanks kerry.

Susie Clevenger said...

A beautiful challenge...thanks Kerry.

Susie Clevenger said...

Of course I couldn't meet the form...so I just wrote poems of five words per line and four lines per stanza. But I wrote. :)

Kerry O'Connor said...

Susie, as far as I can understand the form, you got it right!
I'm glad this gave us something to think about.... Sorry, Shay ;-(

Mary said...

Always fun to play with a different form! I will be back later to read.

Marian said...

love. it.

Susan said...

I'm back. I'll try to catch up on reading by Tuesday. The poems today are beautiful. Between this challenge and Laurie's I am prompted to stay present for delights.

Kay L. Davies said...

It didn't happen the way I intended — things seldom do, but it happened, which is the main thing, so I'm here.
K

Susan said...

There's an unusual level of eroticism rolling with this prompt. I'm saving the rest for another day!
(I am not complaining.)

kkkkaty said...

My first time here among some new and old acquaintances ;)Thanks for another great site

manicddaily said...

Hi Kerry - I found this an interesting challenge - I'm not very used to counting words! But very cool--I don't know where you come up with all of this. I'm very impressed.

I don't see Mr. Linky, so here's mine anyway.

http://manicddaily.wordpress.com/2012/10/21/the-petite-mort-jueju/

I may be too late - can check back later for it. Take care, k.

PS - photos really lovely but I was just too tired to try to get the whole prompt. k.

Dulcina said...

Thanks for the challenge, Sherry.
I like Jue Ju, sounds like laughing!
A hug and have a nice week.
:)

Kerry O'Connor said...

Sorry Karen, but the Linky was here all along. Perhaps there was a problem with your server loading it - sometimes happens to me.

manicddaily said...

Hi Kerry, for some reason Mr. LInky was not up last night - or not read by my computer (more likely) so posting my quatrains now. Thanks for the challenge. k.

manicddaily said...

Hi Kerry, for some reason Mr. LInky was not up last night - or not read by my computer (more likely) so posting my quatrains now. Thanks for the challenge. k.

Margaret said...

Late to the party, so I have also linked this with Open Link Monday. Was hiking over the weekend on the Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina.

Margaret said...
This comment has been removed by the author.