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Tinker

The Witches' Brew

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Tinker

Witches Brew   (revised a bit)

We've read when Shakespeare's witches walked
the land to lure with words

for all who'd heed. They'd chant and talk
of what we dreamed,  they stirred                             
up our irrelevant complaints 
and listened showing gleed restraint
to thoughts trite and absurd.
They fueled our wants with poppycock.

The scheme of things in life and death,
they're not our first concern. 
We take for granted our next breath
and will we never learn
to be kind to each other here?
We must not drink the coven's beer.
Examine and discern, 
avoid the pitfalls of MacBeth.

Ambitions drove his moral code,
he withered into sin.
He let his noble heart erode
to gain himself a win.
When win he would by doing good,
upholding truth for once he stood,
not heed the witches' grin.
Beware, sidestep the tempting road.

Our petty troubles can expend 
our energies and time.
We worry, fret and try to bend
our lusts to seem sublime.
Instead let's care for those in pain
give aid to victims of the rain, 
and boost up those who'd climb.
Don't drink the witches' brew, the end.
                         ~~Judi Van Gorder

The Witches' Brew

Not long ago, the witches walked
the land to lure with words
for all who'd hear, they'd chant and talk
of what we dreamed,  they stirred                             
up our irrelevant complaints 
and listened showing gleed restraint,
our petty thoughts absurd,
they fueled our thoughts with poppycock.

The scheme of things of life and death,
they're not our first concern. 
We take for granted our next breath
and will we never learn
to be grateful for each moment here?
We must not drink the coven's beer.
Examine and discern, 
avoid the pitfalls of MacBeth.

Ambitions drove his moral code,
he withered into sin.
He let his noble heart erode
to gain himself a win.
When win he would by doing good,
upholding truth for once he stood,
not heed the greed within.
Beware, sidestep the easy road.

Our petty troubles can consume
our energies and time.
We worry that our new costume
will not be thought sublime.
Instead let's care for those in pain
give aid to victims of the rain, 
and boost up those who'd climb.
Ignore the witches' brew and bloom.
                         ~~Judi Van Gorder

Notes:


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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

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tonyv

These are wise words, Judi, reminding the reader not to sell out, not to give in to wickedness, greed, jealousy, but to be kind and do good deeds instead. Ultimately, it's a reminder that it doesn't have to be win/lose when it can and should be win/win!

Tony


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

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Tinker

Thank you for the kind comments Tony.   This poem was a bit of a crazy journey, first driven by the form.  Challenged to write a Gemstone, a metered, rhymed, 4 octave form, I decided to give it a try even though rhyme always gives me trouble  and I hate to write long poems.  The content was originally inspired by all of the petty complaints I have been hearing lately.  From that point rhyme began to influence the content.   I began with angels and revamped to the witches of MacBeth who fueled his corruption after I wrote L16 and used MacBeth as the end rhyme.  That one rhyme changed the whole landscape of the poem.   Until then is was all about stop your griping, don't sweat the small stuff but once MacBeth stepped onto the page it went much darker and I had to go back and rethink the whole of S1 and much of S2.  It all evolved from there.  I was just happy is made some modicum of sense in the end.   

~~Judi


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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

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A. Baez

I enjoyed the basic sentiment behind this but found myself getting somewhat lost in the complex sentence constructions, punctuation irregularities, and attempts to conform to the rather demanding poetic form you've taken on here. My sense is that you'd be able to get your message across much better if you laid aside that form and focused on simply saying what you're trying to say as clearly and potently as possible. From there, you could, if you wished, seek a simple, suitable scheme to best fit your words. I have confidence that you could deliver your intended message with full power in about half the lines you've used here. I get glimpses of the potential of a simpler approach in your lines, "We take for granted our next breath/and will we never learn/to be grateful for each moment here?" and "Instead let's care for those in pain/give aid to victims of the rain,/ and boost up those who'd climb." To me, these sound like your authentic voice and as such, I find them to be the high points of the poem. How about building on these?

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Tinker

Thank you A.B.,  Of course you are right, the content comes first but in this case the verse form, which I probably will never attempt again, was the challenge.  I appreciate the suggestion that I scrap the form and concentrate on my "authentic voice".   It is a good idea and I may just do that at some point.  But I can't abandon this particular attempt, I do have to stick to the verse form and I would like it to be more cohesive and less confusing within the frame.   

~~Tink

 


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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

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A. Baez

Tinker, yes, the form is really daunting and you deserve a lot of technical points for actually managing to check off all of its boxes in a way that is even basically coherent. Why are you compelled to stick to this verse form here? Is it part of a resolve to write a verse in each form you take on for study, or something along those lines, which I saw you allude to elsewhere? Anyway, I think the easiest way to improve clarity here while maintaining the form would be to take a look at some of the punctuation. I would strive to give it the same type of punctuation that one would if it were written as prose, not poetry. If you analyze it that way, I think you'll quickly see there would be a substantial number of differences. For example, I particularly stumbled over

Quote

and listened showing gleed restraint,
our petty thoughts absurd,
they fueled our thoughts with poppycock.

I could read this passage one of two ways, both of which require me to make some adjustments in both punctuation and wording in order for things to cohere logically:

and listened showing [insert some substitute for "gleed restraint"--"gleed" actually means "glowing coal," and if you mean "gleeful," is restraint ever gleeful? And is the witches' behavior that you describe below really "restrained"?]
to our petty thoughts absurd [this archaic verbal inversion does not add to clarity].
They fueled our thoughts [how about some variation of "thoughts" so as not to repeat this word which you used above? "Them all" or "our minds," for example?] with poppycock.

or

[ditto bracketed notes above]

and listened showing gleed restraint.
Our petty thoughts absurd
they fueled [omit "our thoughts"] with poppycock.

Incidentally, I noticed "coven" is written as "conven."

The other single most noticeable overriding cause of my getting somewhat lost was that the three-way tie between the witches metaphor and the associated Macbeth metaphor and your contemporary moral admonishments were not made clear. In the first stanza, you present the witches out of context of the Macbeth play, in a contemporary setting that relates to us (presumably as archetypes), and once you introduce Macbeth later on, I'm not at all sure that these witches are in any way supposed to be related to the ones Macbeth saw in the play. In contrast, you present Macbeth wholly in the context of the original play.

Furthermore, even scholars are in disagreement as to the role that the witches in Shakespeare's play actually had in inducing Macbeth to slide into error, directly or otherwise. [I just Googled this.] My impression is that the witches' cauldron brew quite possibly could have been toward another end altogether (the play leaves this an open question), and the witches' prophesies to Macbeth and Banquo about could be regarded as simple objective statements of future truths rather than calculated inducements toward Macbeth making those truths happen. You don't take an explicit stance in this question although gradually, you imply the latter, and you break from the play allusions altogether in stanza 2 up until the last line, in which you introduce Macbeth. These two factors create a double sense of disjuncture. In the last stanza, you again take a break from your extended metaphor up till the last line, creating a third disjuncture.

Most importantly of all, your connection of Macbeth's errors with the contemporary ones you cite is very tenuous. Committing the murder of allies to gain power seems very different from forgetting to be grateful for each moment, getting consumed in petty troubles, and worrying that our latest costume will not be thought sublime. (I'm not even sure what you mean by this last one.)

I actually think the idea of somehow tying either one or both of these interrelated metaphors into contemporary moral lessons is pretty intriguing. I believe it could work really powerfully if you were to free yourself from the reigns of the tyrannical Gemstone form! I do hope you try it out at some point and let us see the results.

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Tinker

   Thank you A.B.,  This has my wheels turning.   I do have a goal to write a poem in each form and genre I have documented in the Reference Section.  It has been a random affair until the last year when I was introduced to a forum at another site that introduces a different form every week.  Members of the group, make attempts at writing a poem using the chosen form.  The leader of the group has used this site as one of his sources.  I made a comment once, that since I wrote the example poem, I was skipping that week and since then he only chooses forms that I have not previously written an example poem for.   He is very aware of my goal to write an example of each one.  I've written a lot of example poems over the years but there are about 1400 documented which at 52 a year will have me working on this for years.  

Last Thursday's chosen form was the daunting Gemstone. 32 lines of prescribed meter and rhyme is a lot.   Actually since there is no linking rhyme or refrain, I suggested to the group that though the inventor wrote and dictated 4 octaves, there really is no reason to do so. This form could be looked at as stanzaic, writing the poem in any number of stanzas from 1 on up.   But I was trying to adhere to the original described form for example sake. (The lion's share of the invented forms have cropped up since the advent of the internet from amateur poets, many of whom just write a poem in a nonce pattern then give the structural pattern a name and post it for others to emulate. They are all over the web.  Half the time they describe the elements incorrectly given the elements used in the poem that started it all. The one's I particularly cringe at are when not only is the frame prescribed but the inventor also requires some additional gimmick like, "mention a bug" or "include the name of a flower".    But they are out there and people are using them. So I document as I find them, the forms and genres range from ancient, classic to contemporary, and invented.  An now there are even cyber forms.     I try to use the correct terms to describe the form so they make sense.   Some of them are kind of fun like the Oddquain which another forum at the same site challenged last Monday.  I wrote one in the playground because they are so fun to write.  I've written others in the past.  

Back to my poem, I really do appreciate your commentary.   I plan to come back to this when I have a little more time and see what I can do to improve the piece I've written.  I don't intend to return to this particular form in the future, so I'd like the example to be a little more cohesive and your perspective already has me thinking.    

~~Thanks again,   Tink


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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

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dr_con

I found this to be an amazing work Tinker, it indeed feels shakespearean a few general questions Conven as opposed to coven? Is that an older form? and, wow, 'gleed,' glad for the introduction! What a word! I'm cachinnating with glee! It occurs to me this could be about advertising... Ha!

Many Thanks! And I truly appreciate your devotion to form and its discontents. Its a truly admirable ambition;-)

DC&J


Join the Voodoo rEvolution. Classes forming now: http://www.integralvoodoo.org/

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Tinker

Thanks Juris, Even with its flaws, I put a lot of work into this.  I've fixed coven and made some other repairs spurred by A.B.'s comments which helped me see some needed corrections. (I don't have the time or energy to do a complete overhaul right now.)  I am happy you noticed "gleed".  I think I invented a new word and played with it for a while to find a better way, but just kept coming back to "gleed".  Haha. 

~~Tink
 


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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

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dr_con

New word but with a nice pedigree;-)

gleed

 Play gleed
 
noun
The definition of gleed is a glowing coal.

Join the Voodoo rEvolution. Classes forming now: http://www.integralvoodoo.org/

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A. Baez

Ha, Dr. Con, I beat you to it on the "gleed" and "conven" notes, but glad to see there's another sharp pair of eyes out there! 👀 I was glad to find out about the real word "gleed" and its meaning for the first time as well!

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A. Baez

Hi, Tinker! I'm glad I've made you think about some things. I agree, I'd be tempted to keep the stanzaic form of the Gemstone but use it in whatever quantity seemed best in a poem. Your efforts to document and demonstrate all the poetic forms is remarkable. I had similar ambitions as a youngster but soon abandoned them as I began to experience how hard it was for me to say something meaningfully or well in many of these forms. I never knew there were so many trending nonces out there, and that they had so many precisely defined peculiarities! That would not appeal to me at all, either. One certainly narrows the value of a form by attaching such exact constrictions to it.

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Tinker

Thanks A.B.,  I had no interest in poetry until my 60s.  I was bored and happened on a Barnes and Noble free online class offer and chose to take Understanding Poetry just to broaden my scope of interests.  There I found a community of poets who encouraged me to not just read but also write some poetry.   In my effort to catch up I would document all of the nuances of the art and practice writing by emulating a poem I particularly liked, breaking down the elements.  The history of each form was as interesting to me as the elements.  I started posting my notes along with the poem each particular form inspired.  A pattern emerged over time and the quest was on.  Writing a poem for each form as I documented it proved too time consuming and by that point, the research and documentation of form had become a project that I felt I needed to complete. Now I am filling in the blanks, adding example poems at a slower pace.  I see adhering to the frame of any particular form as a training and practice ground for the real thing, writing that one great poem some day.  😁

One of the poets in my original group used to say, poetry has tools, not rules.  I see the study of form, as a practice ground using the tools of the trade.  The only time I feel it necessary to stick to a prescribed frame is in a group challenge when everyone is writing using the same frame (I participate in 2 different forums at another site that have weekly forms challenges)  or when writing an example of the frame for what has become the reference section of this forum. which by the way is used by countless people all over the internet. Ancient and classic poetic forms are my favorite.

The study of Welsh forms is where I began seriously documenting and I learned so much about balance and sound from the ancient Welsh.  What is so interesting is the ancient Welsh considered poetic form so important that they documented a How-to, and "codified" and assigned the use of various forms to poets of different stations. Lesser poets weren't allowed to write an Awdl.  The ancient Nordics did something similar with the Edda Measures.   All classic form evolved because someone admired a particular poem by another and emulated the frame in their own poem and others followed.  Eventually someone (probably a scholar) named the frame. Forms that developed in languages other than English give us a glimpse into other cultures and the translation of those forms into English, create there own challenges. 

The latest phenomenon, spurred by the internet, the Invented Form is exactly the opposite. Someone writes a poem in a nonce form, thinks, "cool pattern I just invented", gives it a name, breaks down the elements, posts it and  someone else  gives the frame a try.   Honestly I'm not a big fan of "invented forms", the Gemstone is a torturous example.  Half the time I don't think the inventors know what they are talking about. They often incorrectly label an element of the frame, and the poem that is supposed to be the inspiration isn't always all that good. But these forms are all over the internet and people love to use them.  So there is a section in the reference forum for them.  They keep popping up and when I learn about them I add them.   I just discovered and added one "the Dekaaz" that I actually like.  It is fun and easy and really just a condensed version of the haiku without some of the art's nuances. 

~~Tink

 


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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

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A. Baez

I so enjoyed hearing about how you got into poetry and poetic forms in the first place! It's a path that's easy for me to imagine taking; I just happened to have stumbled into those things a lot earlier. For me, it was in 2nd grade, when a wonderful volunteer poet from outside the school offered an opportunity for any students who were in several classes and who were interested, to participate in weekly workshops (and later, summer workshops) run by her. Who knows if I would have seriously taken on both reading and writing poetry otherwise! But she introduced us, in reading and writing, to a number of forms, culminating the sonnet, when I was in 6th grade. But it is never too late to launch into poetry, and you've gone a lot of places I haven't with it.

The history of forms that you describe is fascinating. Much of what I do know about this topic, I've gleaned from the slim but highly illuminating book Poetic Meter & Poetic Form, but I've never made as systematic and persevering study of the topic as you have. The most strenuous form I've ever challenged myself with was a villanelle; my results were perhaps moderately successful. I'd never known about the interesting hierarchal associations of forms in Welsh and Nordic poetry. I'm also intrigued by your mention of the "balance and sound" of Welsh poetry, since Welsh, like Gaelic, is a language that has interested me enough that I actually tried to teach myself a little bit at one point.

I'm passingly curious about all these sites you mention that are rife with viral nonce forms, and I wonder how I've managed to miss them all in my searches for poetry forums--perhaps because I searched specifically for "poetry critique forums"? But yeah, it sounds like the sloppiness and gimmickiness you describe in modern nonces' creation and adoption are just one more iteration of a general trend of contemporary society. Everyone (almost) is in a hurry, everyone wants instant gratification, and everyone wants to make a splash, and there's a lot of precision and quality that goes by the wayside in the process. I believe that poetry slams are another clear manifestation of this trend.

In my own life, a few years ago, I somehow hit a rich vein of things that I actually want to explore and say in poetry, so since then, I've felt a need to let these things guide my choice (or creation) of forms rather than the other way round. Over and over again, I find that the sonnet form has helped me channel my embryonic, fumbling thoughts in a way that seems to bring out most naturally what is most clear and most compelling in these thoughts.This sense of "easy fit" may be in large part a reflection on the kind of thoughts I tend to have! I'm not at all sure I would have even been able to find words and ways to flesh out most of these ideas that have wound up in sonnets, had the sonnet form not already existed and suggested itself to me. As with you, ancient and classic forms are my favorite, but what really compels me about the sonnet is how easily and with what versatility it lends itself to contemporary use--by so many poets and in so many ways. 

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