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dedalus

Moscow Ballet, 1917 (rewritten as a Rainis Sonnet)

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dedalus

This poem was rewritten in collaboration with Tony who introduced me to the form and came up with two versions (go to the Workshop to see them) and who also contributed the final killer couplet!

 

Lithe and willowy, the sad-eyed soubrette

retreats from stares. Her alabaster lips

seal in cares she cannot speak of yet,

her gliding young body sways and dips.

 

Hidden are the yellow rotting fangs

brought on by war. In art she can forget

for passing moments her hunger pangs.

 

Grace under pressure by a crushed coquette,

foreshadow years of Soviet roulette.

 

----------------------------------

 

Rainis Sonnet is a short meditation. Whether or not it is a true sonnet is up for debate. It is a lyrical meditation with a turn or volta, however it is shorter than the usual quatorzain of the sonnet. It is named for the Latvian philosopher and poet Janis Rainis (1868-1929)

 

Rainis Sonnet is:

 

1. written in 9 lines made up of a quatrain, followed by a tercet ending with a couplet.

2. metered, primarily iambic pentameter.

3. rhymed, turned on only 3 rhymes. Rhyme scheme abab (cbc or cac) and (aa or bb or cc).

4. written with the epiphany arriving in the tercet.

 

(with thanks to our very own Tink of PMO!)

 

Original version:

 

Young and willowy, the sad young soubrette

retreats from glances; she cannot say, not yet,

anything from behind her closed alabaster lips

as her body sways and moves, glides and dips.

 

Those lips press over stunted decaying yellow fangs

that all young Russians possess, from hunger pangs

brought on by poverty, despair, and this dreadful war

and they do not, cannot, understand what life is for.

 

Yet in moments of beauty and stylish grace

attention turns from a suffering face.

Edited by dedalus

Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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Aleksandra

Wow, dedalus. This was a wonderful poem with historical background about Russian Revolution and creating of the Soviet Union. 1917 is the year that happened those famous series of revolutions.

In this poem you use some heartbreaking expressions which can be used as an metaphors also.

.......she will not, cannot say

anything from behind her closed alabaster lips

as her body sways and moves, glides and dips.

 

It sound as it's written for a girl, but can mean Russia herself...

The rhyme in the last two lines is well created, and opens another subject and another story.

 

I enjoyed reading this poem. I read it loud for myself.

Thank you for sharing with us.

 

Aleksandra


The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth - Jean Cocteau

History of Macedonia

 

 

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dedalus

Thanks, Aleks

 

There has been too much anger in my poems lately ... jokes and cheerful cynicism, sure, but rage just under the surface. I wanted to write something simple and pure. I tried but it doesn't quite make it (that second stanza). The last two lines are OK, maybe even pretty good.

 

Thanks as always for your comments and your unerring ability to pick up on associations ... those tight alabaster lips.

 

Best wishes,

Brendan


Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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Aleksandra

Well, Bren, I think that this poem is anyway more pure and simple than the rest of your poems. And the anger and irony were always at the top in your poetry, and that is ok, IMO.

And for a change this poem here, is something different. I noticed right away while reading it.

Alabaster lips is a wonderful expression. I enjoyed that part a lot, it's so meaningful.

 

... those tight alabaster lips.--- sounds perfect when you use it, Bren. I am impressed.

 

Aleksandra


The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth - Jean Cocteau

History of Macedonia

 

 

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tonyv

Wonderful poem, Brendan, from content to form. It's very much to my taste.

 

I would love to see this one fashioned into a RAINIS SONNET. Put it in the workshop, and I'll go to work!

 

Tony


Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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dedalus
I would love to see this one fashioned into a RAINIS SONNET. Put it in the workshop, and I'll go to work!

 

Tony

 

Will do, Tony. Am intrigued (already) to see what you'll do with it!

B.


Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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tonyv

I have it ready, Brendan. But I don't see a topic in the workshop!

 

Tony :mellow:


Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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Tinker
Young and willowy, the sad young soubrette

retreats from glances; she cannot say, not yet,

anything from behind her closed alabaster lips

as her body sways and moves, glides and dips.

 

Those lips press over stunted decaying yellow fangs

that all young Russians possess, from hunger pangs

brought on by poverty, despair, and this dreadful war

and they do not, cannot, understand what life is for.

 

Yet in moments of beauty and stylish grace

attention turns from a suffering face.

 

Hi Bren, This is a departure from your usual historic writings, no Irish brogue or lyrical language. A time and place in which I have minimal knowledge, I learned something today.. I was saddened by the images of the 2nd stanza. Thanks for the insight.

 

~~Tink


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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dedalus
I have it ready, Brendan. But I don't see a topic in the workshop!

 

Tony :mellow:

 

Hang on a bit ... I have to compose a comment before posting.


Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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tonyv

I'm so happy you decided to mold this poem into a Rainis sonnet, Brendan. (Perhaps you'll find the form as addictive as I do!) As a short form, the Rainis sonnet is perfectly suited to me. I can't even imagine writing the longer poems that you and others seem to do naturally and with ease. (I often wonder if that's simply a step in my development as a writer, or if it's a permanent limitation.) But even if I only were to become competent in shorter forms, I think I'd be abundantly pleased.

 

Tony


Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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dedalus

I am really grateful for your guidance - introducing the Rainis form - and your subsequent generous sharing of time and thoughts. At the end of the day I went (as usual) with my own words and phrases because content conquers form every time to my own way of thinking, even to the extent of believing that the original poem, outside the Rainis rhyming requirements, was in a certain (direct) way actually better. This detracts nothing from your sterling contribution. It is highly unusual for me to accept any hands-on alteration to anything I write not through blind overweening pride as such, rather through a simple belief in my own ability to better my own work far more conclusively than any outside hand. Some might call that arrogance; let them. I call it keeping in touch with the inner source from which the poems flow: it's similar to the way that people can sing a song, drive a car, play an instrument, make love to a woman, in a (perceptibly improving, preferably sensitive) idiosyncratic way which is the only real way that could possibly work for them -- allowing for the fact that the woman in question might have a few caustic comparative opinions! Others might even sing the song better. Bottom line is you go your own way.

 

Thanks again. You must have known I could accept suggestions but never a total rewrite. Not that I believe that's what you tried to do; you kept as close as possible to the original. I don't know if I'm expressing myself very well. Excuse me now while I go out and crash my car.

 

All the best,

Brendan :icon_cool:


Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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