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  1. Tinker

    The Ballad of Booker T

    The Ballad of Booker T Booker T Was a practical man. He said, Till the soil And learn from the land. Let down your bucket Where you are. Your fate is here And not afar. To help yourself And your fellow man, Train your head, Your heart, and your hand. For smartness alone's Surely not meet- If you haven't at the same time Got something to eat. Thus at Tuskegee He built a school With book-learning there And the workman's tool. He started out In a simple way For yesterday Was not today. Sometimes he had Compromise in his talk For a man must crawl Before he can walk And in Alabama in '85 A joker was lucky To be alive. But Booker T. Was nobody's fool: You may carve a dream With an humble tool. The tallest tower Can tumble down If it be not rooted In solid ground. So, being a far-seeing Practical man, He said, Train your head, Your heart, and your hand. Your fate is here And not afar, So let down your bucket Where you are. ~~Langston Hughes Commentary: " He said, Train your head, / Your heart, and your hand." Not bad advise for any and everyone. "Bloom where you are planted." is not stated but inferred. In modified ballad form, Langston Hughes tells the true story of Booker T Washington, freed slave and educator. I'm a fan of anything written by Hughes, he shares a time and atmosphere through his words that unfortunately wasn't all that long ago and in some minds still persists today. ~~Tink
  2. Freedom's Plow When a man starts out with nothing, When a man starts out with his hands Empty, but clean, When a man starts to build a world, He starts first with himself And the faith that is in his heart- The strength there, The will there to build. First in the heart is the dream- Then the mind starts seeking a way. His eyes look out on the world, On the great wooded world, On the rich soil of the world, On the rivers of the world. The eyes see there materials for building, See the difficulties, too, and the obstacles. The mind seeks a way to overcome these obstacles. The hand seeks tools to cut the wood, To till the soil, and harness the power of the waters. Then the hand seeks other hands to help, A community of hands to help- Thus the dream becomes not one man’s dream alone, But a community dream. Not my dream alone, but our dream. Not my world alone, But your world and my world, Belonging to all the hands who build. A long time ago, but not too long ago, Ships came from across the sea Bringing the Pilgrims and prayer-makers, Adventurers and booty seekers, Free men and indentured servants, Slave men and slave masters, all new- To a new world, America! With billowing sails the galleons came Bringing men and dreams, women and dreams. In little bands together, Heart reaching out to heart, Hand reaching out to hand, They began to build our land. Some were free hands Seeking a greater freedom, Some were indentured hands Hoping to find their freedom, Some were slave hands Guarding in their hearts the seed of freedom, But the word was there always: Freedom. Down into the earth went the plow In the free hands and the slave hands, In indentured hands and adventurous hands, Turning the rich soil went the plow in many hands That planted and harvested the food that fed And the cotton that clothed America. Clang against the trees went the ax into many hands That hewed and shaped the rooftops of America. Splash into the rivers and the seas went the boat-hulls That moved and transported America. Crack went the whips that drove the horses Across the plains of America. Free hands and slave hands, Indentured hands, adventurous hands, White hands and black hands Held the plow handles, Ax handles, hammer handles, Launched the boats and whipped the horses That fed and housed and moved America. Thus together through labor, All these hands made America. Labor! Out of labor came villages And the towns that grew cities. Labor! Out of labor came the rowboats And the sailboats and the steamboats, Came the wagons, and the coaches, Covered wagons, stage coaches, Out of labor came the factories, Came the foundries, came the railroads. Came the marts and markets, shops and stores, Came the mighty products moulded, manufactured, Sold in shops, piled in warehouses, Shipped the wide world over: Out of labor-white hands and black hands- Came the dream, the strength, the will, And the way to build America. Now it is Me here, and You there. Now it’s Manhattan, Chicago, Seattle, New Orleans, Boston and El Paso- Now it’s the U.S.A. A long time ago, but not too long ago, a man said: ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL-- ENDOWED BY THEIR CREATOR WITH CERTAIN UNALIENABLE RIGHTS-- AMONG THESE LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. His name was Jefferson. There were slaves then, But in their hearts the slaves believed him, too, And silently too for granted That what he said was also meant for them. It was a long time ago, But not so long ago at that, Lincoln said: NO MAN IS GOOD ENOUGH TO GOVERN ANOTHER MAN WITHOUT THAT OTHER’S CONSENT. There were slaves then, too, But in their hearts the slaves knew What he said must be meant for every human being- Else it had no meaning for anyone. Then a man said: BETTER TO DIE FREE THAN TO LIVE SLAVES He was a colored man who had been a slave But had run away to freedom. And the slaves knew What Frederick Douglass said was true. With John Brown at Harper’s Ferry, Negroes died. John Brown was hung. Before the Civil War, days were dark, And nobody knew for sure When freedom would triumph "Or if it would," thought some. But others new it had to triumph. In those dark days of slavery, Guarding in their hearts the seed of freedom, The slaves made up a song: Keep Your Hand On The Plow! Hold On! That song meant just what it said: Hold On! Freedom will come! Keep Your Hand On The Plow! Hold On! Out of war it came, bloody and terrible! But it came! Some there were, as always, Who doubted that the war would end right, That the slaves would be free, Or that the union would stand, But now we know how it all came out. Out of the darkest days for people and a nation, We know now how it came out. There was light when the battle clouds rolled away. There was a great wooded land, And men united as a nation. America is a dream. The poet says it was promises. The people say it is promises-that will come true. The people do not always say things out loud, Nor write them down on paper. The people often hold Great thoughts in their deepest hearts And sometimes only blunderingly express them, Haltingly and stumblingly say them, And faultily put them into practice. The people do not always understand each other. But there is, somewhere there, Always the trying to understand, And the trying to say, "You are a man. Together we are building our land." America! Land created in common, Dream nourished in common, Keep your hand on the plow! Hold on! If the house is not yet finished, Don’t be discouraged, builder! If the fight is not yet won, Don’t be weary, soldier! The plan and the pattern is here, Woven from the beginning Into the warp and woof of America: ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL. NO MAN IS GOOD ENOUGH TO GOVERN ANOTHER MAN WITHOUT HIS CONSENT. BETTER DIE FREE, THAN TO LIVE SLAVES. Who said those things? Americans! Who owns those words? America! Who is America? You, me! We are America! To the enemy who would conquer us from without, We say, NO! To the enemy who would divide And conquer us from within, We say, NO! FREEDOM! BROTHERHOOD! DEMOCRACY! To all the enemies of these great words: We say, NO! A long time ago, An enslaved people heading toward freedom Made up a song: Keep Your Hand On The Plow! Hold On! The plow plowed a new furrow Across the field of history. Into that furrow the freedom seed was dropped. >From that seed a tree grew, is growing, will ever grow. That tree is for everybody, For all America, for all the world. May its branches spread and shelter grow Until all races and all peoples know its shade. KEEP YOUR HAND ON THE PLOW! HOLD ON! - Langston Hughes
  3. Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry Early 1900s Poetic Movements Acmeism (Greek, "pinnacle of") was a short lived early 20th century, poetic movement similar to Imagism. A school of Russian poets in 1910 attempted a break from the vague and symbolic poetry of the time. Their goal was to create maximum emotion from lucid and sensory vivid images. The movement was cut short by the Russian Revolution and the difficult cultural climate of the time. The Auden Group, also called the Thirties Movement, is really less a movement than simply a categorizing of Irish and English poets of the 1930s who went to either Oxford or Cambridge around the same time and tended to have leftist political views. Named for W.H. Auden, the group included Louise MacNeice, and Stephen Spender among others. The Laborer in the Vineyard by Stephen Spender Here are the ragged towers of vines Stepped down the slope in terraces. Through torn spaces between spearing leaves The lake glows with waters combed sideways, And climbing up to reach the vine-spire vanes The mountain crests beyond the far shore Paint their sky of glass with rocks and snow. Lake below, mountains above, between Turrets of leaves, grape-triangles, the labourer stands. His tanned trousers form a pedestal, Coarse tree-trunk rising from the earth with bark Peeled away at the navel to show Shining torso of sun-burnished god Breast of lyre, mouth coining song. My ghostly, passing-by thoughts gather Around his hilly shoulders, like those clouds Around those mountain peaks their transient scrolls. He is the classic writing all this day, Through his mere physical being focusing All into nakedness. His hand With outspread fingers is a star whose rays Concentrate timeless inspiration Onto the god descended in a vineyard With hand unclenched against the lake's taut sail Flesh filled with statue, as the grape with wine. Augustan Poetry refers to one of two sources of poetry: Latin -(27 B.C-14 A.D.) the great period of Roman literature under Emperor Augustus, produced the writings of Horace, Virgil and Ovid. O r England in the early 18th century England, neoclassic period, which included the formal writings of poets like Alexander Pope. John Dryden Swift and Joseph Addison The poetry was often satirical and political. The precedence of individual or society was a common subject. Marlborough at Blenheim by Joseph Addison BEHOLD in awful march and dread array The long extended squadrons shape thier way! Death, in approaching terrible, imparts An anxious horror to the bravest hearts; Yet do their beating breasts demand the strife, And thirst of glory quells the love of life. No vulgar fears can British minds control: Heat of revenge, and noble pride of soul, O'erlook the foe, advantag'd by his post, Lessen his nmbers,a nd contract his host; Though fens and floods possest the middle space, That unprovok'd they would have fear'd to pass; Nor fens nor floods can stop Britannia's bands, When her proud foe rang'd on their borders stands. But O, my Muse, what numbers wilt thou find To sing the furious troops in battle join'd! Methinks I hear the drums tumultuous sound The victor's shouts and dying groans confound, The dreadful burst of cannon rend the skies, And all the thunder of the battle rise. 'Twas then great Marlborough's mighty soul was prov'd, That, in the shock of charging hosts unmov'd, Amidst confusion, horror, and despair, Examin'd all the dreadful scenes of war: In peaceful thought the field of death survey'd, To fainting squadrons sent the timely aid, Inspir'd repuls'd battalions to engage, And taught the doubtful battle where to rage. So when an angel by divine command With rising tempests shaks a guilty land, Such as of late o'er pale Britannia past, Calm and serene he drives the furious blast; And, pleas'd th' Almighty's orders to perform, Rides in the whirlwind, and directs the storm. Cubist Poetry, was the early 20th century movement of Picasso's "sum of destruction" emulated in poetry. French poet Guillame Apollinaire was a cubist. Clotilde by Guillame Apollinaire Anemone and columbine Where gloom has lain Opened in gardens Between love and disdain Made somber by the sun Our shadows meet Until the sun Is squandered by night Gods of living water Let down their hair And now you must follow A craving for shadows. Dymock Poets were a 20th century, group of poets who gathered together in the Gloucestershire village of Dymock to write and discuss poetry in the years immediately preceding World War I. They included Robert Frost, Rupert Brooke, Edward Thomas, and Wilfred Gibson. In A Restaurant by Wilfred Gibson HE wears a red rose in his buttonhole, A city-clerk on Sunday dining out: And as the music surges over the din The heady quavering of the violin Sings through his blood, and puts old cares to rout, And tingles, quickening, through his shrunken soul, Till he forgets he ledgers, and the prim Black, crabbèd figures, and the qualmy smell Of ink and musty leather and leadglaze, As, in eternities of Summer days. Georgian Poetry is a poetic movement named for period of the reign of the English King George V (1910-1936). Techinically it refers to the work of 36 poets included in a 5 volume anthology titled Georgian Poetry but in has also spilled over to include most conventional, romantic verse of the same period. Some of the 36 poets were later labeled War Poets which by this association is sometimes lumped into Georgian Poetry. some Georgian poets are Abercrombie, Walter de la Mare, Edmund Blunden, Rupert Brooke and Siegfried Sassoon. The Empty House by Walter de la Mare My mind is like a clamorous market-place. All day in wind, rain, sun, its babel wells; Voice answering to voice in tumult swells. Chaffering and laughing, pushing for a place, My thoughts haste on, gay, strange, poor, simple, base; This one buys dust, and that a bauble sells: But none to any scrutiny hints or tells The haunting secrets hidden in each sad face. The clamour quietens when the dark draws near; Strange looms the earth in twilight of the West, Lonely with one sweet star serene and clear, Dwelling, when all this place is hushed to rest, On vacant stall, gold, refuse, worst and best, Abandoned utterly in haste and fear. Graveyard Poets, also called Churchyard Poets, were 18th century poets who focused their work on human mortality. The poems often took place in a graveyard. Thomas Gray is probably the best known of these poets. Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard Sonnet on the Death of Richard West by Thomas Gray In vain to me the smiling mornings shine, And red'ning Phobus lifts his golden fire; The birds in vain their amorous descant join; Or cheerful fields resume their green attire: These ears, alas! for other notes repine, A different object do these eyes require. My lonely anguish melts no heart but mine; And in my breast the imperfect joys expire. Yet morning smiles the busy race to cheer, And new-born pleasure brings to happier men: The fields to all their wonted tribute bear: To warm their little loves the birds complain: I fruitless mourn to him that cannot hear, And weep the more because I weep in vain. The Harlem Renaissance was an African American literary movement in the 1920s and 1930s. Poets such as Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen are probably the best known. For A Poet by Countee Cullen I have wrapped my dreams in a silken cloth, And laid them away in a box of gold; Where long will cling the lips of the moth, I have wrapped my dreams in a silken cloth; I hide no hate; I am not even wroth Who found earth's breath so keen and cold; I have wrapped my dreams in a silken cloth, And laid them away in a box of gold. Imagism Jazz Poetry is an early 20th century movement initiated by the American poet Vachel Lindsay to perform, chanting their poetry. Langston Hughes was one of the first to recite his poetry to music. Beat poets became a part of the movement in coffee houses all over the US. Madam and Her Madam by Langston Hughes I worked for a woman, She wasn't mean-- But she had a twelve-room House to clean. Had to get breakfast, Dinner, and supper, too-- Then take care of her children When I got through. Wash, iron, and scrub, Walk the dog around-- It was too much, Nearly broke me down. I said, Madam, Can it be You trying to make a Pack-horse out of me? She opened her mouth. She cried, Oh, no! You know, Alberta, I love you so! I said, Madam, That may be true-- Lake Poets is a term used to identify 19th century poets, William Wordsworth, Robert Southey and Samuel Taylor Coleridge who all lived in the Lake District of England and drew inspiration from the landscape. There is no distinct style or philosophy that came from the Lake poets but they were all considered part of the Romantic Movement and all at one time or another shared uncomplimentary critiques from the Edinburgh Review. To A Goose by Robert Southey If thou didst feed on western plains of yore Or waddle wide with flat and flabby feet Over some Cambrian mountain's plashy moor, Or find in farmer's yard a safe retreat From gipsy thieves and foxes sly and fleet; If thy grey quills by lawyer guided, trace Deeds big with ruin to some wretched race, Or love-sick poet's sonnet, sad and sweet, Wailing the rigour of some lady fair; Or if, the drudge of housemaid's daily toil, Cobwebs and dust thy pinion white besoil, Departed goose! I neither know nor care. But this I know, that thou wert very fine, Seasoned with sage and onions and port wine. Nature Poets are poets who's subject is primarily nature, animals, birds, insects and vegitation. Noted Nature Poets span the centuries, some names are Ted Hughes, DH Lawrence, Gerard Manley Hopkins and John Clare. "poems, like animals, are each one 'an assembly of living parts, moved by a single spirit.' Ted Hughes Trees in a Garden by DH Lawrence Ah in the thunder air now still the trees are! And the lime-tree, lovely and tall, every leaf silent hardly looses even a last breath of perfume. And the ghostly, creamy coloured little tree of leaves white, ivory white among the rambling green show evanescent, variegated elder, she hesitates on the green grass as if, in another moment, she would disappear with all her grace of foam! And the larch that is only a column, it goes up too tall to see and the balsam-pines that are blue with the grey-blue blueness --------------------- of things from the sea, and the young copper beech, its leaves red-rosy at the end show still they are together, they stand so still in the thunder air, all strangers to one another as the green grass glows upwards, strangers in the silent garden. ------------------- Lichtental Poets of Elan poetic movement in Ecuador that touched on the social and political climate of the early 1900s. One poet in particular, Adalberto Ortiz explored the trials of the Afro-Hispanic. from Tierra, son y tambora by Adalberto Oritiz Un bombo retumba en la yungla: iViva Patricio Lumumba revolviendose en su tumba! Otra vez Chang6 y otra vez bong6 y mas bong6 y mas bongo y otra vez bongo y ma's bongo y ma's bongo y otra vez bongo y ma's bongo y ma's bongo y ma's bongo bongo bongo Pylon Poets were 1930s left-wing poets who were known for their use of industrial imagery - road, trains, skyscrapers, factories, etc. The actual term 'pylon' was derived from Spender's 1933 poem The Pylons. Poets such as Stephen Spender, W. H. Auden, Cecil Day-Lewis and Louis MacNeice were Pylon poets. Pylons by Stephen Spender The secret of these hills was stone, and cottages Of that stone made, And crumbling roads That turned on sudden hidden villages Now over these small hills, they have built the concrete That trails black wire Pylons, those pillars Bare like nude giant girls that have no secret. The valley with its gilt and evening look And the green chestnut Of customary root, Are mocked dry like the parched bed of a brook. But far above and far as sight endures Like whips of anger With lightning's danger There runs the quick perspective of the future. This dwarfs our emerald country by its trek So tall with prophecy Dreaming of cities Where often clouds shall lean their swan-white neck. Scottish Renaissance reached across the arts but primarily had its roots in literature. It was an attempt of Scottish modernist artists to connect with their roots. It could almost be thought of as an attempt to preserve or save a diminishing language, bringing into the modern world a sound of the ancient, a nationalist signature. The Watergaw by Hugh MacDiarmid (1 stanza)watergaw meaning a broken shard of a rainbow. A translation of this poem from the "Scot's language" by the poet himself in both the English and Scot's version can be heard at Poetry Archive One wet, early evening in the sheep-shearing season I saw that occasional, rare thing - a broken shaft of a rainbow with its trembling light beyond the downpour of the rain and I thought of the last, wild look you gave before you died. The Southern Agrarians originally were twelve American, Southern writers who collaborated on a book I'll Take My Stand which was published in 1930. It was their initial attempt at to preserve many of the innate features of Southern living, stability and closeness to the land. They attributed the Civil War and the Reformation to the rise of materialism, industrialism and applied modern science which they felt was choking the more graceful, fulfilling characteristics out of the south. John Crowe Ransom, Andrew Lytle, Henry B. Kline, Stark Young, Lyle H. Lanier, Frank L. Owsley, Allen Tate, Donald Davidson, John Gould Fletcher, Herman C. Nixon, Robert Penn Warren, and John Donald Wade were among the 12. Although the basic tenants of the agrarians were constant, their approach to its solution was individual. Each offered a different perspective. The staunch philosophy of the agrarians is that humanity requires roots in the land in order to be nurtured and sustained. The proposed that culture has a "linguistic" connection to agriculture. Evening Hawk by Robert Penn Warren From plane of light to plane, wings dipping through Geometries and orchids that the sunset builds, Out of the peak's black angularity of shadow, riding The last tumultuous avalanche of Light above pines and the guttural gorge, The hawk comes. ------------- His wing Scythes down another day, his motion Is that of the honed steel-edge, we hear The crashless fall of stalks of Time. The head of each stalk is heavy with the gold of our error. Look! Look! he is climbing the last light Who knows neither Time nor error, and under Whose eye, unforgiving, the world, unforgiven, swings Into shadow. --------- Long now, The last thrush is still, the last bat Now cruises in his sharp hieroglyphics. His wisdom Is ancient, too, and immense. The star Is steady, like Plato, over the mountain. If there were no wind we might, we think, hear The earth grind on its axis, or history Drip in darkness like a leaking pipe in the cellar. The School of Spectric Poetry, is not a school of poetry at all. The term was created as a hoax by two poets, Witter Byner and Arthur Davidson Fricke under the alias' of Emanuel Morgan and Anne Knish. They wrote a book of "nonsense" poetry, Spectra published in 1916 which included a preface introducing the Spectric School of Poetry. Many noted poets such as Amy Lowell and William Carlos Williams fell for the hoax and gave credence to the movement in interviews and essays before being alerted to the deception. EMANUEL MORGAN Opus 46 ONLY know that you are given me - --- For my delight. No other angle finishes my soul ---- But you, you white. know that I am given you, Black whirl to white, To lift the seven colors up. Focus of light! ANNE KNISH Opus 191 THE black bark of a dog Made patterns against the night. And little leaves flute-noted across the moon. --- I seemed to feel your soft looks Steal across that quiet evening room Where once our souls spoke, long ago. ---- For that was of a vastness; And this night is of a vastness.. ---- There was a dog-bark then – It was the sound Of my rebellious and incredulous heart. Its patterns twined about the stars And drew them down And devoured them. Surrealist Poets were a group of 20th century French poets inspired by Freud's theories of the unconscious and attempted to emulate his theory with irrational images. Some Surrealists were André Breton, Louis Aragon and Paul Éluard. She Looks Into Me by Paul Éluard She looks into me The unknowing heart To see if I love She has confidence she forgets Under the clouds of her eyelids Her head falls asleep in my hands Where are we Together inseparable Alive alive He alive she alive And my head rolls through her dreams. Symbolist Poets were a group of 19th century French poets who wrote with evocative language with symbolism in rebellion of the objectivity and realism of the Pamassian movement. Some of the poets ere Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlain. The Seekers of Lice by Arthur Rimbaud translated by Jeremy Harding When the boy's head, full of raw torment, Longs for hazy dreams to swarm in white, Two charming older sisters come to his bed With slender fingers and silvery nails. They sit him at a casement window, thrown Open on a mass of flowers basking in blue air, And run the fine, intimidating witchcraft Of their fingers through his dew-dank hair. He listens to their diffident, sing-song breath, Smelling of elongated honey off the rose, Broken now and then by a hiss: saliva sucked Back from the lip, or a longing to be kissed. He hears their dark eyelashes start in the sweet- Smelling silence and, through his grey listlessness, The crackle of small lice dying, beneath The imperious nails of their soft, electric fingers. The wine of Torpor wells up in him then— Near on trance, a harmonica-sigh — And in their slow caress he feels The endless ebb and flow of a desire to cry. War Poetry is poetry from that came out of World War I. Certainly there has been "war poetry" that has come out of wars before and after World War I, but it seems that the poets of WWI wrote about the personal pain of war, the discomfort of soggy trenches and the awkwardness of suddenly having to put on a gas mask. Poets such as Siegfried Sassoon, Edward Thomas, Rupert Brook, Robert Graves and Wilfred Owen were among several poets of the Great War. Thomas and Owens died in battle, Owen died 7 days before the end of the war. Since then, there have been some poets from World War II such as Keith Douglas, Alun Owen, Sidney Keyes and Henry Reed that have been included in this category. Dulce Et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs And towards our distant rest began to trudge. Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots Of disappointed shells that dropped behind. GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time; But someone still was yelling out and stumbling And floundering like a man in fire or lime.-- Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light As under a green sea, I saw him drowning. In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. If in some smothering dreams you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin; If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,-- My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie: Dulce et decorum estPro patria mori.
  4. Tinker

    The Blues Stanza

    Explore the Craft of Writing American Verse The Blues was born in 19th century from the African American experience expressing "lamentation and complaint". Originally written for music, with the 3rd and 7th notes of the scale flattened, the poem should capture the same minor tone. The Blues confronts life head on, often expressed in sarcasm, wit and humor. Langston Hughes (1902 - 1967) is credited with making the Blues as much a part of American literature as it is a part of American music. It is poetry "created on the fly", as the blues singers did, making up lyrics on the spot. . . . A statement is made, then repeated to give the poet a moment to come up with a rhyming response. There you have the blues stanza. The elements of the Blues Stanza are: stanzaic, written in any number of triplets. accentual verse with 4 to 6 stresses a line, or whatever. The syllable count is 12 or close enough. You can see, there is lots of room to wiggle here. The meter changes to iambic pentameter when the stanza is used in the Blues Sonnet. structured. L1 makes a statement, L2 repeats L1 with minor variation, often a beat or two short, and L3 responds, with a "climatic parallel" to the first 2 lines. (a culminating contrast or extension of the statement) In effect you are writing a rhyming coupletposing as a triplet. rhymed, rhyme scheme aaa, bbb, ccc, ddd. adapted by some poets like Hughes to break the lines roughly in half, making a six line stanza. infused with a theme that comes from complaint or a lament, suffering, struggle, real life experiences. It meets life head on, no nonsense, often with sarcasm and with humor, a wisdom born from pain. borrowed from blues singing, making up the "lyrics on the fly". I'm goin' down to de railroad, baby, ----------------------------------Lay ma head on de track. I'm goin' down to de railroad, babe, ----------------------------------Lay ma head on de track - But if I see de train a-comin', ---------------------------- I'm gonna jerk it back. ------------------------ Langston Hughes in The Big Sea Burn Out Blues by Judi Van Gorder The sun on Sunday morning calls, come and play. the morning's sun calls, come out and play, but first, I have a Sunday duty to pay. But that sun sure tempts me to skip and stray, yes I sure am tempted to skip and stray, why am I bound to fit church in my day? Hard part is, I believe it's the right thing to do, it's hard, but believe it's the right thing to do, I've lived it, I've taught it and loved it too. Still I don't want to sit through a ritual mass, no, don't want to sit through a long boring mass, would rather be sunning, bare toes in the grass I doddle and fiddle and arrive at mass late, messing around, slip in the door late, so I stand in the back and kneel on the slate. The gospel is one that I don't want to hear, the news is something I don't want to hear, but I know the message is meant for my ear. "Do you love me?" He asks, "then tend my flock", He asks it twice more, "then tend my flock", I've done that for years, Lord, we need to talk. I'll ponder His words and write out my thought, still pondering His word and writing my thought, there's more in His message, more to the plot So I've gone to church, and now have my day, gone to church and He gave me my day, but also a message I need to weigh.
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