Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Mini-Challenge for Sunday

A Hungarian Dance...

Bálint Balassi (20 October 1554 - 30 May 1594) was a multilingual Hungarian Renaissance lyric poet, who wrote mostly in Hungarian. Beside his native Hungarian, he was proficient in eight languages : Latin, Italian, German, Polish, Turkish, Slovak, Croatian and Romanian. He is the founder of modern Hungarian lyric poetry and the first author of Hungarian erotic poetry. Balassi's poems fall into four divisions: religious hymns, patriotic and martial songs, original love poems, and adaptations from the Latin and German.
Balassi was also the inventor of the strophe which goes by his name. It consists of nine lines a a b c c b d d b, or three rhyming pairs alternating with the rhyming third, sixth and ninth lines.  Any number of these stanzas may be used in the complete poem.

The Balassi Stanza/Strophe

x. x. x. x. x. a
x. x. x. x. x. a
x. x. x. x. x. x. b
x. x. x. x. x. c
x. x. x. x. x. c
x. x. x. x. x. x. b
x. x. x. x. x. d
x. x. x. x. x. d
x. x. x. x. x. x. b

Here follows an example of his verse in German and its (perhaps shaky) English translation:

Über die Jungfrau Margareta

Ritterklingen ritzen,
Schlangen Gift verspritzen,
mit den Hörnern kämpft der Stier.
Falkenkrallen reißen,
Löwenzähne beißen
Beute mit der gleichen Gier.
Töten mit den Blicken -
Nur der Maid mags glücken,
wie dem Basiliskus schier.

About the Virgin Margareta

Knight Blades carve,
snakes squirt poison,
with the horns of the bull fights.
falcon talons tear,
lion teeth biting
prey with the same greed.
killing by the looks -
the Maid might only succeed,
as the sheer Basiliscus.

This is a modern Balassi Stanza, by an anonymous poet:

Cello in the Wind

The wind's mellow voice plays.
Deeper cello sound stays
Moving through the branches making
Notes more mature and soft
Through the branches they waft
And leaves in turn start shaking
Then nature adds her mood
When other sounds intrude
We hear the new day breaking.


Peter Goulding said...

Sorry, football again

Kerry O'Connor said...

Klimt - not quite Hungarian, but his innovations in European art were far reaching.

indiwriter said...

Would love to hear some of these dances to get a feel of the rhythm. Otherwise poetry written to the scheme can be quite flat.

Laurie Kolp said...

Enjoyed this... thanks, kerry!

hedgewitch said...

Well, I tried. Several times. ;_)

Marian said...

gosh, this form is glorious. thank you, kerry.

Kay L. Davies said...

Mine is flat alright. Face-plant flat. High jumping in high boots scares the wits out of me.

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

Kerry O'Connor said...

It occurs to me that I didn't specify that each X in the layout cited above stands for one syllable.. not that it really matters (except for the purists among us). I found the 6 syllables quite difficult to bend to what I wanted to say, but this is a quick challenge, a writing exercise really, in which we can try new techniques.