Sunday, October 9, 2011

Un Bee Leafable

Un Bee Leafable

you were here
and we were young, if
time twitched and turned inside out,

can't pollinate coral reefs,
you'll never be here
and we’re not

October 2011

This is my attempt at a mirror oddquain, described as : A two stanza form with syllable sequence 1-3-5-7-1    1-7-5-3-1 = 32 syllables, with some kind of opposition between the two parts.

And this is the poem before it was formed up, just for comparison:

Nonsense Song

If you were here
and we were young
If time would twitch
and turn inside out
If bees could pick pollen 
from coral reefs
If water were chocolate
and chocolate lovesongs
If birds sang Puccini upside down
If the night went on an extended cruise
and learned to samba, in red
ruffled dress and heels,
if bats could talk and tell how it was done, that
they left their mouseholes and learned to fly
then you’d be here my love,
and we’d be young.

September 2011


  1. Aw, I like it. I like the time twitch!

  2. here and young are great places to bee pollen and flowers and all title...young or not turned inside out we'd look kind gross...ok, i will stop being silly....nice dance to your words hedge...

  3. It probably should be titled Un Bee Laughable. ;-)

  4. I believe it is right the first time,Joy! An uncanny and clever way of putting the twist in an event.


  5. I think you're being too hard on this little poem. I do like the revision, very much. It's better. And the short version is much better than the longer one, imo. I like it, I say.

  6. as most things, youth is wasted on the young! ;)

  7. I want to see bees swim in the coral reef, and birds sing Puccini upside down, real toads in imaginary gardens, and listen to bat tales about dressed up nights - I have no idea what's going on here but I'm happily puzzled.

  8. Ack, and I forgot the chocolate, how is that possible, yes please. Chocolate love songs, genius.

  9. If I can puzzle you, dear Anna, even temporarily, then my work here is done. ;-) I'm glad you enjoyed the nonsense.

  10. Beautiful, both in original and strange poetry form! I'd take chocolate over love songs any day though... *smile*

  11. I'm glad you had fun with this, Joy. I have to say that it seems to have been a worthwhile exercise. I also used an old scribble to come up with an example, and at first I wasn't happy about letting some of my images go. The form forces one to hone down to bare essentials - you had to select one of your images to focus your theme (I love the imaginative idea of bees trying to pollinate coral), letting so many others go. I also liked the way the oddquain ended in the negative, rather than the affirmative of the original.. It seemed all the more poignant.

    Thanks for participating in the Mini-Challenge on Real Toads.

  12. Both are fun, if sad. They remind me of the difference in genre between The English Patient in book form, then film, the first spare, and the second lush. :-)

    I love the language and imagery in "Nonsense Song."

  13. Well, it's probably no duh I liked the second version more -- its ladder of magic undercut by logic is like a child reluctantly accepting that there's no flying off the roof, no matter what superhero cape / towel they've fixed around their neck. That yearning for the impossible never goes away, though, because yearning is so sweet ... Your first poem though manages to shine despite the limitations (more like verse Chinese thumb-screws but hey, that's me). Amazing that it flies at all, and it soars. - Brendan

  14. Hadn't known about the oddquain before, thanks for the info.

    It's cool to see the differences between the two forms. There are details in the longer song that I miss from the shorter (like the birds singing Puccini), but they each have a particular feel as a result. Quite cool!

  15. Thanks all, especially Kerry, for giving this scrawl a skeleton to hold it up and make its point. It's been sitting in my files for over a month. Before this I'd had a hard time getting it to gel, and only succeeded in making it longer and more shapeless.

    @Ruth: Great comparison, and a very flattering one. Thanks for stopping by.(and glad you enjoyed Nina in the other post--I liked the fun the two back-up singers seemed to be getting out of it. Apparently that's the only time she sang that song--never recorded it anyway.

    @B: Yes, I added the longer version for free verse purists such as yourself ;-) (Very surprised that the haiku-hating Ms. FB preferred the form.)You analyze it perfectly--but sometimes, while you can stop yourself from actually jumping off the roof, you still want to fly. My new dragon has to hang around for those moments.

  16. I love the sense of fun in this. The longer poem has its merits but by distilling it down almost to a syllogism (if this... then that) the oddquain seems to sharpen the wit of it. Like sharpening a pencil, the shavings that are stripped away make the point more acute. The title is a fine bit of genius too.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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