Saturday, January 19, 2013

Scrimshaw Sonnet






Scrimshaw Sonnet




I am a woman only of earthenware
bare as windy hills if not as pure.
Your every thought to me wore the potter's mark
stark from a god's-eye that's never yet met mine,
fine and barb-hooked as a fishing line,
vined in words that pulled like hungry sand;
hands of ivory cloud worked a starving knife,
life dripped enough to wet the driest grave.

Save the lesser light of windflower spring;
bring the lamps of your eyes imagining.
Sing like sheaves of whales under blue-white wool.
Pull from your sleeves the darkness between worlds

curled away in sighs, then suddenly spilled,
filled to the brim before all things are stilled.





~January 2013







posted for   real toads

Sunday Mini-Challenge: Chained Rhyme
Kerry O'Connor has graciously allowed me to host the form prompt today, which is to explore the possibilities of chained, or interlocked rhyme. You can get the full explanation of how that works at the link above.

Process notes: This is written in non-traditional sonnet form, with a distinctly erratic use of iambic pentameter and no real end-rhyme scheme, though it runs to 14 lines and includes a volta, some end, chained and internal rhymes. So it can only very loosely be called a sonnet.

scrimshaw  — n
1. the art of decorating or carving shells, ivory, etc, done by sailors as a leisure activity
~World Dictionary




Header image: The Rocks with Oak Tree, Vincent Van Gogh, 1888
Public domain, via wikipaintings.org
Shared under a Creative Commons license.


32 comments:

  1. This sounds a bit like a song heard from a shell - and the shell of someone too. The chained rhyme - is that the name? - works in such an interesting way in that it seems to me to emphasize the second rhyme - the beginning word - even though that one might be on the first foot of the iamb. A very odd consonance that is really lovely. Again I'm not sure I'm using the words right - but it makes for a kind of repeated beat with each first line, where the echo seems to come first rather than second.

    I found the end lines especially beautiful with the whales under the wool - all these subtle echos here - and the closing couplet worked super well too. k.

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  2. I agree--it does emphasize(subtly) that second rhyme. It is certainly an obscure form, as I looked and googled, and never found any other examples outside Turco--yet I found it mesmerizing and also, it plays well with free verse, though I didn't go that route here. Thanks for the input, k. Look forward to anything you may come up with.

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  3. Ha. Your poem is so much better than mine.

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  4. I love the way this sways. Beautiful work, Hedge.

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  5. This is mesmerizing. I read it first for the rhyme, and then for the poetry. Such a haunting and evocative piece, filled with womanliness and passion. I love the way the last three lines gain momentum in your sonnet-like form.

    Pull from your sleeves the darkness between worlds

    curled away in sighs, then suddenly spilled,
    filled to the brim before all things are stilled.

    Brilliant!

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  6. ha...nice...lyrical....the third and forth lines are cool, there is kind of a contrast in them that is cool to me...the whales in wool is really cool...and the curled in sighs....nicely done...it sings

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  7. how do you manage to write such beauty when challenged by such formulations? you are a wonder

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  8. " Sing like sheaves of whales under blue-white wool.
    Pull from your sleeves the darkness between worlds"

    Damn, that's pure Hedgewitch poetic eloquence.

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  9. And I say "damn" also, but I mean "Damn, Shay chose my two favorite lines"! Beautiful lines. I also love the two preceding that:
    "Save the lesser light of windflower spring;
    "bring the lamps of your eyes imagining."
    I think I could really learn to love this form, too.
    K

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  10. This:

    "Your every thought to me wore the potter's mark"

    and these:

    "vined in words that pulled like hungry sand;
    hands of ivory cloud worked a starving knife"

    I just love all of them but these really captured my attention...I love the idea of thoughts bearing the potter's mark...I used to work at a pottery and words pulling like hungry sand is so tactile...awesome way to word it, Hedge...then the image of ivory hands...the working of a starving knife...there's just so much distinct imagery throughout this entire piece. A great read for sure!! Thank you for the challenge and for sharing your work!! :)'s

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    1. Thanks, Hannah. Yours was one of my favorites for this challenge--it showcased your strengths, and the form bent and swayed with ease under your pen. Glad you enjoyed this one.I was trying to play 'starving' off carving knife...not too successfully, but I asked a lot of this poem. ;_)

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  11. A great job to your challenge! I didn't know what a scrimshaw was so always enjoying learning something new!

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  12. So beautiful and full of vivid images. Thank you for hosting this wonderful challenge. I learned something new! :)

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  13. such great lines! i love your very first line, a woman of earthenware (!), and the strength of that line continues throughout. this challenge was difficult, and reading yours i realize it's because i was so focused on the rhyming, that my lines are shorter... and for me, this form just flung me forward in a really unpredictable way. yours seems so much more precise and contained. when i try it again, perhaps it will be less wayward and more controlled. :) thanks so much for the challenge, i really enjoyed it! xo

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    1. Thanks, marian. I thought your shorter phrasings were very dense and rich--and I like that concept of the form flinging you forward--that's why I like to do form, I get things I'd never find just writing along in my comfort zone. Thanks for reading, and for writing.

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    2. true enough. i have no fear of tight forms, but this one feels like the opposite, doesn't it? like throwing words out on a high wind and catching a rhyme that might make you go round a corner you didn't expect.

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  14. What a lovely share Hedge, I can appreciate the rhyming and chained words ~

    I specially like the ending couplet, a stark contrast to the woman of earthenware ~ Thanks for the challenge ~

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  15. I see the love and admiration in "Your every thought..." and feel an appreciation of self and relationship. The rhyme scheme slows the reader, enabling her to better feel the flow.

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  16. As always you've used language to create something totally uniquely you. You manage to create interesting contrasts in your poems. This was an enjoyable challenge. Thanks for hosting.

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  17. Wow. I should have listened to you and seen your example before writing my own for imaginary garden! I see the power of this structure now.

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    1. I enjoyed yours just the way it was--really. The whole idea of a challenge is to get people's creative juices flowing, and yours certainly were. Very glad you liked my own effort, but I spent a lot of time making it this formal--you wrote beautifully off the cuff. Both approaches are valuable.

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    2. thanks a lot for your encouraging words as well as the fun prompt! :)

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  18. Like a siren's song. Just lovely. I enjoyed trying this form.

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  19. this is wonderful. the potter's mark and god's eye both remind me of things made and held. Your last six lines start with action and proceed with amazing imagery. your final couplet is strong and soft at once. very like a earthen woman, i think. I enjoyed your prompt. It stretched me. My biggest fear with using a form is that it will sound like I'm using a form, especially while rhyming. Yours is free from stiff formality, though has all that I love in a sonnet: rhythm, cadence, repetition, and of course timeless imagery. thank you!

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    1. Thank you, Jane. I'm really glad you enjoyed working with this--I think it's a very sneaky little form, and an open-ended one, and that seems to be borne out by the many very different directions people have taken with it. The form was almost completely invisible in yours, just adding a little echo and beat, so I'd say you achieved your goal, and then some. Sonnets are my least favorite form! This one is pretty...um,...non-traditional. ;_)

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  20. Your chained-rhyme is lovely and lyrical. You rock.

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  21. Wonderful to read aloud and savor the delicious words of craft.

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  22. Beautiful message and phrasings. A masterpiece, in fact. Your chain rhymes are wonderfully natural and unobtrusive, not forced in the least. I really enjoyed this challenge and think I will be playing with it again.

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  23. Mary said it: "A masterpiece..." I have always loved scrimshaw and I also love the word itself. Never could have imagined a poem capturing the essence of it, but yours did, and it is lovely and memorable.

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  24. I like that the theme of being of the earth runs throughout..hills and sheaves and graves and sand, pottery. Thank you for the great examples..the tea pot.

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  25. i love the rhythm this form produces and then for you to tie it all into a sonnet! you are the mistress of word witchcraft, Joy! this is, as always, amazing!

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  26. Your poem is stunning and gorgeous to the mouth in speaking it, but the line I relate to is the first- a woman of earthen ware. Yes.

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'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg