Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Scrimshaw Sonnet








Scrimshaw Sonnet




I am a woman only of earthenware
bare as windy hills if not as pure.
Your every thought to me bore the potter's mark
stark from a god's-eye that's never yet met mine,
fine and barb-hooked as if on a fishing line,
vined in words that pulled like hungry sand.
Bands of ivory cloud meet a starving knife,
life drips 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
slightly revised. 2015 




posted for    real toads 

The Tuesday Platform
revisiting a poem written two years ago... this is in chained rhyme where the last word of every line rhymes with the first word of the next.






originally posted for   real toads 





Process notes: This is deliberately written in a somewhat non-traditional sonnet form.

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

~World Dictionary


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

20 comments:

  1. First--I can't remember what that form/technique is called--chained rhyme? I don't know, but where you rhyme your last/first words, but it works really well here--it is so subtle, I honestly didn't consciously notice it until a few reads--of course, my ear heard it though, and it does create a wonderful overlapping effect of each line growing out of the next as if they were hand upon hand, links in a chain or rope--maybe the hands pulling up the chain or rope from over a deck--also like scrapes of a whittling knife--so many kudos on the form--

    My favorite trope here is the "words that pulled like a hungry sand"--one really has the image of the earthen woman at sea really quite desperate to get ashore--or at least to stable footing. The whole poem is really like a seduction, or maybe the wish for one--the end really very sensual if veiled-- one thinks of the darkness from the sleeves as both a bit of a magic trick--but also arms, and also the darkness of what's in-between an embrace, --the whale sounds beneath the blue-white wool also ---well all of it--quite striking and gives rise to rather vivid imaginings (though one could also picture sky!) Ha. Wonderful sonnet. k. Ps -- oddly I have one about whales today--not sure that I'll post but probably--k.

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    1. Thanks, k. as usual you nail the poem--it is about the wish for a seduction, on the cosmic level, of the kind that removes us from our mundane selves and opens up a spiritual jumpgate. Yours was so good--scathing, but still so lyric and almost too painfully beautiful, just like look at the ocean we are so casually destroying.

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  2. I remember this one, and it is classic Hedgewitch. Can't ask for better than that. The "woman of earthenware" and the barbed fishing line used the way it is here, are especially cool.

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  3. Perfect. I was transported. I especially love the lines: Bands of ivory cloud meet a starving knife, life drips enough to wet the driest grave

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  4. serious verse joy....i love the opening and the relation to potter....as if saying a hand made woman...there is an implied intimacy there...i also like hte inclusion of the barbs because it is a two sided or multi faceted relationship.....

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  5. First, the subtle rhyme scheme . I didn't even notice it until i saw it in Karin's comment.. but it works so well. I think when a poem is written in form and you don't even notice .. that is when it works at its best. Some of the noun adjective combinations are excellent, and being in the mood to read Dickens I would say a "starving knife" and "hungry sand" are two excellent such combinations. The darkness in your words is what attracts me most though.. wonderful

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    1. Thanks, Bjorn--I liked your Bleak House-inspired piece also--dark and delicious.

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    2. Actually I have an idea for a prompt here or on dVerse.. a great way to start a poem I think..

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    3. I have done this (chained rhyme--but I didn't ask for a sonnet) for a prompt at the Imaginary Garden, Bjorn, but not sure if anyone has done it at dVerse. It is a fun form, I think, and harder than it looks.

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  6. wonderful moody piece... so much depth... one to reread and come away with something new

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  7. There is just so much life and death going on in this poem, just as much as there is light versus dark connotations. I really thought this poem was elegantly written.

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  8. Those last three lines are an invitation for the soul... *closing my eyes, embracing the darkness, crafting into wonderful things before things are no more*.

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  9. I love "bare as windy hills if not as pure"......and "the lesser light of windflower spring". So beautiful.

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  10. "Vined in words that pulled like hungry sand"...this is breathtaking.

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  11. The rhyme is so subtle--and works so well here--the whole piece for me is subtle and artfully drawn--beautiful writing

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  12. Pity the Pythia, whose psychic flesh and soul was sacrificed every time Apollo vented her with his arrows of inspiration. The oracle was ripped from her mouth. Pure holy torture. Is there any other sufficient way? Scrimshaw is a little like collecting heads, writing verses on the bones of the killed. There's a certain high madness here, "bare as windy hills" & scoured by the wind's fishline as it reels in another one. And like a whale being hauled in from the depths, this poem proceeds in piling couplets arranged in sets of four, then two, then one; and the rhymes circle and evade (so many delightful misses); they nearly get in the boat but don't until the final couplet. Such indeterminacy currents the poem and it is wickedly delightful. A poem scoring a direct hit is both "success" and "greasy luck," if I read the scrimshaw in the photo correctly; for the fish--the harvested poeta--well, there's no respite before airing one's wounds to the next vicious wind. And between pythia and god, that "darkness between worlds" which reads like a well to me, "curled away," "suddenly spilled," "filled to the brim before all things are spilled." Doesn't exactly make one lay back and enjoy the violation, but at least heaven throws us a bone. Or tooth. But the direct hit is your own.

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    1. Thanks, B. Sonnets are an intoxicating form, and chained rhyme is almost bardic to me, in the way some Welsh forms are--that particular piece of scrimshaw is like a trip into Heart of Darkness, or the yaws of whale slaughter in Moby Dick--we humans are indeed 'death to the living.' That's not to say we don't make some classy artifacts out of them though. Thanks for reading.

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  13. I find chain rhyme incredibly difficult, but you own it. The first two lines of the second staza are my favorites. Breathtaking!

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  14. I didn't even notice the chained rhyme until I read your notes! That's how expertly and beautifully you wrote this poem. It seems effortless, although I KNOW it was not!

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  15. The rhymes create a sonorous flow of sound - it is not overt but is felt nonetheless. I also really love the way you have structure the sonnet. The longer opening stanza is very finely balanced against the two shorter ones, and the couplet leaves your reader with something to think about.

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