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Ukraine - The Duma / The Sevenling


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Ukraine: borders Russia, Belarus, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Black Sea. The history of its poetry begins with liturgical verse in the 11th century. The Mongol invasion of the 12th century all but wiped out poetic endeavors until the 16th century when the Cossaks revived poetry with the epic form. Then in the 17th and 18th centuries, publication in Ukrainian was outlawed and it wasn't until the 19th century that poets once again emerged.

  • The Duma is a 16th century Ukrainian epic poem that is sung. The verse was performed by Cossack bards and later by blind itinerant musicians. The songs were about historical events often about war but it didn't praise courage, it provided a moral message about the relationships in family, community and church. The Duma has religious undertones and tells tales of death and defeat but not of victory.

    Language is the dominant element of the Duma. The rhythm is persuasive, the stress often falls on a verb at the end of the line. Parallels and repetition are standard as is the use of archaic language.

    Song of Ihor's Host

  • The Sevenling is an invented form patterned after the poem He Did Love by 20th century, Ukrainian poet, Anna Akhmatova. The verse form was named and first described by Scottish poet Roddy Lumdsten as a teaching exercise. So who is the creator, Akhmatova or Lumdsten?The Sevenling is a heptastich that includes parallels and ends with a narrative summary line similar to the 3rd line of a haiku with a juxtaposed image. The tone should suggest a little mystery, a feeling that only part of the story is being shared. One source suggests the poem should be titled "Sevenling: (first few words of poem).

    I found 2 English translations of He Did Love by Akhmatova. I am sorry, I don't know the name of the translator of the 1st translation.
    He did love three things in this world:
    Choir chants at vespers, albino peacocks,
    And worn, weathered maps of America.                         

    And he did not love children crying,
    Or tea served with raspberries,
    Or woman's hysteria.

    ...And I was his wife.


    He loved three things alone:
    White peacocks, evensong,
    Old maps of America.

    He hated children crying,
    And raspberry jam with his tea,
    And womanish hysteria.

    ... And he married me.
                   translorD M Thomas From Selected Poems (Penguin)


    The elements of the Sevenling are:
    1. a heptastich, a poem in 7 lines made up of 2 tercets followed by a single line. metered at the discretion of the poet.
    2. unrhymed.
    3. composed with 3 complimentary images in the first tercet and 3 parallel images in the second tercet. The end line is a juxtaposed summary of the 2 parallels, a sort of "punchline".


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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

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  • 11 months later...

Hold On

The wounds of time leave passing heartache
compassionately scarred over
by transparent fears and lessons learned.

A cheating heart, the death of a friend,
unspoken, understood, compromise,
breed scrutiny and cautious connection.

"Prove all things, hold fast that which is good." *
                                          ~~ Judi Van Gorder
*  1 Thessalonians 5:21, King James Version

A Sevenling
7 lines
Prompt: Include these words: fears, transparent, heartache, passing ,compassion, unspoken, wounds, time

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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

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