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A. Baez
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[Revision 3-29-20]

 

What good’s a house that scorns to catch the light?

Can there be any clumsier design

Than windows placed where sun demurs to shine,

Turning the livelong day into near-night?

What good’s a house that scorns to catch the light?

Within, life’s fullest joy eludes our sight

Or enters dimly, as through fine-meshed screen

Or sheer imagination. Yet the scene

Of nature’s glory blazes warm and bright!

What good’s a house that scorns to catch the light?

Our homes, as “castles,” ought to boast such gold

As bathed the vastness that first day of old

When cosmic sweeps were doused with yellow-white.

What good’s a house that scorns to catch the light?

We still have time, I think, to get it right:

Slice holes in roofs for skylights, trim a bough

That blocks our spirits’ sustenance; from now

On, situate our homes at fitting height

And setting, and with aspect that we might

Catch all our outer, as our inner, light.

 

 

[Original]

 

What good’s a house that scorns to catch the light?

Can there be any clumsier design

Than windows placed where sun demurs to shine,

Turning the livelong day into near-night?

What good’s a house that scorns to catch the light?

In this way truest joy eludes our sight

Or enters dimly, as through fine-meshed screen

Or sheer imagination—though the scene

Of nature’s glory blazes warm and bright!

What good’s a house that scorns to catch the light?

Our homes, as “castles,” ought to boast such gold

As doused the planets on that day of old—

That first day, when God’s word spread gilded white…

What good’s a house that scorns to catch the light?

We still have time, I think, to get it right:

Slice holes in roofs for skylights; trim a bough

That blocks our spirits’ sustenance; from now

On, situate our homes at fitting height

And setting, and with aspect that we might

Catch all our outer, as our inner, light.

 

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Hi Judi, thank you--although as soon as I read "so polished," I started finding all sorts of stuff that seemed  to need changing, which I have just been working on. 😉 Did you notice this is the very same form that I used for "After the Walk"? AbbaAaccaAddaAaeeaaA incremental refrain. And a related theme, too! One day, in a dark house, I just started getting thoughts that seemed to fall into the same mode as the earlier poem, which I'd written about a month ago. This is the first time I've used a nonce more than once [edit: , thus turning it into an invented form]. 

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No, the frame looked familiar but I couldn't put my finger on it.  That is why I said I wanted to take more time to break it down and study it.   This is no longer a nonce frame, it is a pattern that has been repeated and therefore it should be named and included in the reference section as an invented form.  What I liked about it most was that the refrain doesn't feel planned, it just flows in and out of the frame at seemingly its own pace.  Just wait in time you will find your invention emulated all over the internet.   I came up with the name Neoteric Classic because it fits my impression of the form, but I will change it to whatever you think more appropriate.

The Neoteric Classic is an invented form created by A.Baez that gives the feel of an established classical form through rhyme and meter but with fresh, contemporary rhyme and refrain patterns.  The elements of the Neoteric Classic are: 

  1. A poem in 20 lines made up of 4 quintains.
  2. Metric, iambic pentameter.
  3. Rhyme AbbaAaccaAddaAaeeaaA*
  4. Composed with a refrain repeated at designated positions, L1, L5. L10, L14 and an incremental refrain in L20* (incremental refrain is when the words of the refrain are changed) 

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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

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@Tinker Oh yes, you're right--it's not a nonce anymore! It will take me awhile to get up to speed with all these matters. (It's clear I could spend all weekend, every weekend studying the mechanics of poetry and still barely grasp the edges.) I notice the appropriate notation for a refrain in your description, and it's good to know the term "incremental refrain." On all these points, I'll edit my above comments accordingly.

Yes, as far as my refrain placement goes in this invented form, I created it as I was unfurling my thoughts in a way that appealed to my instincts for what I wanted to hear and say at each given moment. That's why, for example, I broke with my established precedent at the end of the second quintain and did not include another A line. I'm not a fan of compulsively regular refrains, which can feel pedantic and intrusive. I'm glad you agree!

I think the name "Neoteric Classic" is superb-- I couldn't have come up with better, ever.  I'd never heard the word "neoteric" before, but it's a great one--it sounds so cerebral!   

I'm wondering about your characterization of the poem as being composed of four quintains. Numerically, that is on target, but the breaks in thought do not always align with the 5s. In terms of thought-breaks, I see the pattern as 5, 5, 4, 6. And just a nitpick--I think it would be clearer if you put the second asterisk before "an incremental refrain" so a reader's eye, after seeing the first asterisk, is led to the beginning, not the end, of the phrase it references. Other than that, just make sure to replace that period after "L5" with a comma and you're good!

By the way, did you ever wind up posting the Three Word Braid as a nonce? Did you see my comments about defining it? Where does one find your nonce postings? I did find the Badger's Hexastich, which is fun!

P.S.--I realized that tags like the one I used at the beginning of this comment are the equivalent of the Facebook tag feature I had mentioned to you that I thought would be nice to have here!

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I am conflicted when it comes to both the construction and directional placement of a physical structure and the ability and willingness of the metaphorical house to welcome and "catch the light." In the case of the former, I can appreciate the various options. In the case of the latter, I am inclined to avoid the light. I don't mean in a spiritual sense when that, for me, is a foregone conclusion -- I already have the light -- rather, what I mean is when it comes to matters of emotion, in which often I'll choose the darkness, preferring to sulk, to brood in the melancholy, while only sometimes I'll smile. When it comes to poetry, it's most often the darkness to which I'm drawn, but in the physical world, I'll take sunshine and a blue sky (even if it's cold) over gloomy, gray rain almost any day.

One place in the poem that sticks out in a way I like very much is the enjambment from L17-L18:

... from now
On ...

I love it.

Tony

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

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@A. Baez  I hadn't thought of the tag thing before, very cool.  

I agree with the asterisk placement.  It does make more sense before rather than after the letter.  And I played with the stanza placement over and over.  First with rhyme, but the thought units didn't match up.  The 2 quintains, a quatrain and a sestet, in that order makes sense.  I actually had it that way in my tinkering then thought it simpler to break it into quintains.  Now hearing from you, these are your thoughts units and they will be delivered accordingly.   I will be adding it to the reference section shortly. 

~~Judi

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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

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Judi, I saw Tony use the tag recently and it dawned on me that this was the solution to making sure someone sees a comment that's aimed at them--and that I'd actually seen these tags around here before.

On the poem, thank you! Surprisingly, the thought-units work out the same in both of my poems that I wrote in this scheme, even though I wasn't explicitly trying to make this happen. Have you added the Three Word Braid to the reference section as well/did you see my comments on it?

 

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"scorns to catch"

Loved the personification of the house.

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Tony, on a physical level, I used to be more inclined to shade; my eyes have lost much of their light sensitivity over the years. Throughout life, I've also been in enough circumstances where I've found myself, against my will, shut up in spaces that had much less natural light than I'd prefer, that I now value sun emphatically.

I view the human as a hierarchy of soul, mind, emotions, and body; so that any circumstance affecting any of these must also invariably be reflected in all the categories that lie above it, and very likely below it as well. Thus, if we are inclined toward darkness emotionally, it must reflect some degree of spiritual darkness, even though, fundamentally, we are all beings of the light. I have often tended to gravitate toward the somber and morose in life as well, but increasingly, I've been training myself to align in a more positive direction every time I see myself veering the other way. Certainly, sulking and brooding in melancholy don't affirm the soul's possession of the light. How interesting that you prefer dark moods, yet sunny skies! Maybe due to your natural inclination toward dark moods you prefer sunny skies as a sort of counterbalance. I actually have plenty of love for naturally darkened skies--they bring out my imagination, my introspection, my sense of primal being--but what bothers me is when perfectly good sunlight (and fresh air) is blocked out by the designs or choices of man in favor of a lifeless-feeling interior environment. That feels like a much darker kind of darkness, reflective of at least some degree of soul darkness.

It can be a fine line between acknowledging that darkness exists, and affirming it at the expense of affirming something higher. This is something that I've been wrestling with in my poetry, especially when trying to figure out what to  do with old poem drafts that have a morose tinge. Revise but keep the mood? Revise and try to turn the mood to something higher? Revise, keep the mood, but follow the poem with one that takes the narrative to a place of greater expressed insight and thus, light?

On another note, I like the enjambment you cited, too. It happened quite by accident, but I like how "from now/on" mirrors the sense of the now stretching into the beyond.

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18 hours ago, A. Baez said:

It can be a fine line between acknowledging that darkness exists, and affirming it at the expense of affirming something higher. This is something that I've been wrestling with in my poetry, especially when trying to figure out what to  do with old poem drafts that have a morose tinge. Revise but keep the mood? Revise and try to turn the mood to something higher? Revise, keep the mood, but follow the poem with one that takes the narrative to a place of greater expressed insight and thus, light?

I think it's meaningful, a worthwhile endeavor, to aspire to the light. That would be in line with glorifying God in everything one does. At the same time we are not robots; it would not be natural to go through life like Stepford wives/husbands with permanent smiles etched upon our faces. Our emotions exist and can give rise to art. I would be in favor of revising while keeping the mood to retain a picture of where you were when you created the art, and it would be fascinating for your readers. Why turn it into something artificial? You can always create new poems which move in the new direction you are cultivating. HOWEVER, if revisiting these old poems might get you down, then do nothing with them. I have some old poems I won't read, because I prefer not to revisit where I was when I wrote them. Use caution.

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

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Thoughts of integrity, well expressed. I tend to agree with them. My attempts to willfully turn poems in a direction that they were not at all originally inclined, have tended to result in forced-feeling, patchwork affairs. Some my older poems do have within them a tonal range from dark to light, in which case I have sometimes simply tried bring out the latter a bit more, inviting my new consciousness to meet and greet the old in the context of the poem until a holistic synthesis is achieved. This approach has often produced results similar to those of a good photo editor. Still, I have been focusing most on creating, as you say, a "next generation" of poems with a new attitude. Even in writing these, I find that some age-rooted angsts still arise. But my hope is that in addressing these unflinchingly, while aiming for the highest version of my current self, my trajectory will remain both honest and upward.

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