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, December 29, 2012

The Sunday Mini-Challenge

Greetings to all in The Imaginary Garden on this last Sunday of the year 2012. I believe we have put our Sundays to good use in showcasing some of the finest photographer-poets on the blogs, as well as exploring many different forms of both stanza and poem. Before going any further with this week's challenge, I ask that you leave your thoughts regarding any changes you would like to see regarding this weekly slot, as well as any suggestions you have that might be of benefit to all of us. I do intend to invite other members' contributions to a greater extent in 2013, so if anyone would like to volunteer her own mini-challenge, please send me an email. (I appeal foremost to our members who do not currently have a regular prompt or challenge on our schedule.)

Favim.com
Source Unknown


Now, back to this challenge. Last weekend, we looked at Common or Hymnal Measure, which uses the classic line lengths of English poetry, namely the alternation between the 8 syllablic tetrameter and the 6 syllabic trimeter. In doing a spot of research for our mini-challenge, I came upon an interesting way of varying this standard, in Robert Herrick's poem To Daffodils.


Fair Daffodils, we weep to see
         You haste away so soon;
As yet the early-rising sun
         Has not attain'd his noon.
                        Stay, stay,
                Until the hasting day
                        Has run
                But to the even-song;
And, having pray'd together, we
Will go with you along.

We have short time to stay, as you,
         We have as short a spring;
As quick a growth to meet decay,
         As you, or anything.
                        We die
                As your hours do, and dry
                        Away,
                Like to the summer's rain;
Or as the pearls of morning's dew,
Ne'er to be found again.

Source

You will notice that the first 4 lines follow the 8,6,8,6 (or 4 feet, 3 feet, 4 feet, 3 feet of iambic stress pattern) of Common Measure rather closely, but then the poet introduces a variation in his stanza from lines 5 to 8, of 2, 6, 2, 6 and then back to 8, 6 to close lines 9 and 10. This breaks the almost jingle-like rhythm to create a more complex pattern, with the shorter lines creating their own kind of pause, not based entirely on punctuation.



For the sake of academic argument, the authors of Understanding Poetry (4th Edition) rewrote the first stanza in the more traditional way, and the difference between the two versions is very obvious to the reader:

Fair daffodils, we weep to see
   You haste away so soon:
As yet the early-rising sun
   Has not attained his noon.
Stay yet until the hasting day
   Has run to the Even-song
And, having prayed together, we
   Will go with you along.

Our Challenge is to write in Herrick's stanza form, which is laid out as follows:

x x x x x x x a
x x x x x b
x x x x x x x c
x x x x x b
x d
x x x x x d
x c
x x x x x e
x x x x x x x a
x x x x x e



In addition, we may note how the poet uses the image of the daffodil in this poem as a metaphor describing man's abiding connection to God through worship and through appreciation of nature. You may take this opportunity to think about how you could use a central image as the basis of the poetic message you wish to convey. The theme of your poem need not be flowery or religious in nature, and I would encourage a more modern take on this 17th Century form.


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.

22 comments:

hedgewitch said...

This is a great challenge Kerry--the form is complex and really interesting. I am having no luck whatsoever with writing anything of late, but if some miracle should happen, I will be back.

As far as the future of this prompt, I love what's been done with it so far, and other than more of the same, an alternating between form and photography, I can only suggest perhaps an occasional ekphrasis challenge on a particular artist or work of art, though this sort of thing comes up in a lot of individual prompts anyway. Still, it seems to fit the idea of the mini-challenge.

My best New Year's wishes to all the toads in the garden, and hopefully I will be back in gear someday soon.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I love the lilting rhythm of this form - the second looks more attainable to me.....I hope to give it a go. The brain cells are suffering right now from Too Much Talking over the holidays, but in time they may recover.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

p.s. I'll try to think up some prompts, too.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Ha! I'm first and you soon will see why!

Fireblossom said...

Herrick wrote one of my favorites, "To The Virgins, To Make Much Of Time."

J Cosmo Newbery said...

Thank you. I thought it would be harder than it was. Seemed to flow quickly and easily. Spent more time trying to find an illustration I was happy with.

The third poem that I wrote on my site was a parody of Herrick's "To The Virgins, To Make Much Of Time." called "To The Virgins, To Make Much Of Wine."

Mary said...

Kerry, I really enjoy form poems. I hope this kind of prompt continues to be offered. Even if one doesn't achieve 'perfection,' the STRETCH is enjoyable.

Ella said...

This form achieves a lyrical tone, which I love. I feel blocked, but will try. :D Thank you Kerry!

Kerry O'Connor said...

Thank you for the wonderful feedback so far.
I'm with you on the idea of an ekphrasis challenge, Hedge, and will throw a few in now and then. As far as photography goes, I would like to feature new photographer bloggers out there, so if anyone could help me locate and connect with them, I would be grateful.

Susan said...

Hey Kerry and Garden Toads, I am here for the Sunday form challenge which is one of my favorites! As Mary said, I find it stretches me. Photography does too, as would any challenge that gets me to observe more and in more detail.

I would enjoy creating a monthly first/last line challenge which draws on known, unknown, and our own poems--but not all three at once. Let me know if this interests you.


manicddaily said...

Hi Kerry - mine's more than a bit silly, but it was a fun challenge. For me, it worked better if there was a run on with the last two lines, as the six syllable end sounded so weird on its own - then noticed even Herrick had an enjambment there. Anyway, thanks. k.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Beautiful writing as always Kerry :)

Marian said...

i think you know the form challenge is my favorite and i beg that it never be ceased. having said that, i know it must be challenging to create the challenge! i'm more than willing to help, even if it's to just take a weekend every now and then to give you a break. whatever it takes, i love it.

i'm just seeing this challenge now (sunday mid-morn) as my kids have me SEWING like the wind to the exclusion of everything else (i guess that's what vacation is for) but i will be back with something before day's end with any luck! xoxo

Emma Major said...

I have.Been working hard at trying to get it to work and have up. I then started writing something about kittens,love and gGod and ..... bingo. I'm amazed anything came at all no matter how it works.

Kay L. Davies said...

Oh my goodness, Kerry. I will try to do something in the Herrick style, but my brain, as Sherry said, isn't very responsive today.
I would absolutely love to come up with a couple of challenges. My health is unpredictable, so I am unreliable, but two or three a year shouldn't be beyond me. I will give the matter some thought and e-mail you.
K

Kerry O'Connor said...

I'm much obliged to both Marian and Kay for throwing their hats in the circle!

Heaven said...

I had to wrestle with the form, never mind the stress/unstressed ~

I appreciate the challenge Kerry so please continue with this slot ~ I would like to volunteer but I am not so good with poetry forms myself and just learning to do it ~

Happy Sunday ~

Sabio Lantz said...

You might want to consider having your Mr. Linky tell us when submissions end. I am considering writing but only if I know how long is left.

When is this submission end?

Hannah said...

I'll be thinking...if any ideas come up that seem challenge worthy I could lend a thought...I don't know if that helps...I wish I could say that I could take a Sunday...that's a tough day to squeeze in...anyway..I'm willing to help though so let me know. I love the challenges...form is good for us/me...even on a day like today...I had no discipline, (to focus and write at all), but I made myself buckle down and rub some real brain cells together...was also able to talk about something I'd been thinking about this week.

Thank you!

Hannah said...

I'll have to catch up reading tomorrow...I'll probably post this one for open link, too. <3 Be seeing with fresh eyes...coffee, soon.

jasmine calyx said...

I love the photography you've featured.

Karen said...

As my old dad would say, I'm "a day late and a dollar short." truly, it takes me forever to write to a prompt, so it's a new year, and here I am in the old. If anyone is still looking, I've attemped this prompt. happy New Year!