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Poetry Magnum Opus

First Dark (Tywyll Cychwynnol)


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(Based on the vivid imagery in Alan Watts' book Myth and Ritual in Christianity. Another in the ancient Welsh form englyn penfyr, and a companion, of sorts, to First Light. The Tenebrae Candle is the VERY last candle to remain lit during the ancient Midnight Matins service.)


Eve before an easter morn - on this night,

Minds contrite; by sadness torn,

We kneel and pray, hearts careworn.


Eve before an easter morn - one last light,

Candle bright, may seem to mourn

Like an empty life outworn.


Eve before an easter morn - but this light,

Ever right and never lorn,

Is a sign of God reborn.

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Larsen M. Callirhoe

wow - what can i say. this is an excellent poem. i like how it flows progression wise as an easy read on the eyes.



Larsen M. Callirhoe

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Those Welsh were pretty smart. The syllable requirements USUALLY get words of the same length, and the rhyme scheme helps the flow and appearance as well. THIS site helped this idea to fruition. We stand on the shoulders of the giants before us.


Oh, yes, thank you as well for the compliment. :)

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David W. Parsley

I am still learning to hear you, DC, so I'll refrain from an overly technical analysis. But yours is a welcome voice on the site. This poem seems to almost emblemize your small-steady-light influence, reminding us of the warmth given by holy meditations, the value of solitude. The refraining form is appropriate to the theme, mimicking the recurring thought trains that occur in such meditations. Nevertheless I would like to recommend revisiting anachronistic language devices such as 'lorn', 'careworn', 'candle bright', etc. Even the least jaded reader could equate their use with the obsolescence of the subject matter, and I believe that is not consistent with your aims: "He is not a God of the dead, but of the living!"


Much Appreciated!

- Dave

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Amazingly, David, I agree with your advice on the terms, but for these two, my first Welsh form poems, I really WANTED an archaic sound. I may be a liberal (OK, socialist) religious, but I am nothing if not High Church, haha. In the next weeks, when I can submit again, I might inflict a "bina" on the group that has NADA to do with religion...not even Moliere.


I don't think anyone is ready for my free verse "Reading Neruda" yet. Shocking.


And thank you, too, eclipse.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Marti, I just keep linking your work with my descriptions of form and genre in the reference sections. You really are a treasure box. And I get the ritual formality of the piece, I love it. David's point is also something to think about. Sometimes after writing a poem that "conforms" I like to take the same theme, even some of the same phrases and work with an entirely different frame just to see where it might go.


Thank you for joining us. ~~Tink

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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

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