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Tinker

Ancient Verse

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Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry

Overview of Chinese Poetry with Index

Ancient Verse is probably the same verse form as Ch'I Yen Shih from the Lu Shi code verse. Ancient Verse is found desribed in John Drury's poe-try-dic-tion-ar-y and is similar to Ch'I Yen Shi, with slight variation. As described by Drury, caesura was not specified and more latitude was given in the character count. This is probably an example of how form evolves or is corrupted by translation. For now I will treat this verse form as separate.

(Drury uses "syllable count") Technically in Chinese prosody, character count and syllable count are one in the same since Chinese characters are one word and Chinese words are usually one syllable. However in English translation, a character could represent a 2 or 3 syllable English word. I use "character" in most of my metric descriptions of Chinese verse and often count words rather than syllables when attempting to write poems using Chinese verse forms in English. However, since Drury's book describes the meter for this form as syllabic, I follow his lead.

Ancient Verse is:

  1. stanzaic, written in quatrains.
  2. syllabic, 5 to 7 syllable lines.
  3. rhymed, rhyme scheme either xaxa xaxa etc or xaxa xbxb etc.
  4. no fixed tone pattern.
  5. always composed with parallels and balance.

    pyramid by Judi Van Gorder

    fresh dug dirt makes space and waits
    rich earth forms a pyramid
    to welcome polished pine box
    with white roses on the lid

Other Drury Verse Form

Four Syllable Verse

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