Friday, October 01, 2010

Autumn Psalm

Oct 10 009

I've been reading Terza Rima, a poetic form borrowed from the 13 c. Italian poets and made famous by Dante's The Divine Comedy and Shelley's Ode to the West Wind. Some of my poetry blogging pals and I have all been working on writing this form for the past six months, and I am lagging behind in my homework. I decided to spend more time reading it in order to wrap my mind around the pattern and flow.

Here is a delightful example written by Jacqueline Osherow, in which poets speak from books in the library stacks about the nature of God, the glory of changing seasons, and the use of language. It starts out:

Autumn Psalm

by Jacqueline Osherow 

A full year passed (the seasons keep me honest)
since I last noticed this same commotion.   
Who knew God was an abstract expressionist?

I’m asking myself—the very question   
I asked last year, staring out at this array   
of racing colors, then set in motion

by the chance invasion of a Steller’s jay.
Is this what people mean by speed of light?
My usually levelheaded mulberry tree

hurling arrows everywhere in sight—
its bow: the out-of-control Virginia creeper   
my friends say I should do something about,

read the rest here at the Poetry Foundation.

Don't miss Glatstein asking Wang Wei how to conjure magic in so few words as they converse across the aisle of the university library stacks...

Friday Poetry is being rounded up Jennie at Biblio File. Enjoy!


tanita✿davis said...

That's a much longer terza rima than the rest of us have done - most of the poems I've seen are much shorter. This is such a big bite I've had to back up and take smaller nibbles! I like what I understand thus far!

Jennie said...

I love that line "Who knew that God was an abstract expressionist?"

Thanks for sharing this with us today!

Andromeda Jazmon said...

I know Tanita! I've had to read it over and over, swallowing different bits each time. It's amazing! I can not see myself writing anyting near that long but the form is flexible and can be as short as you like. My poems will be much shorter, we can be sure.

Author Amok said...

I love reading these ancient forms reinterpreted by modern poets. What a rich poem! Thanks for sharing it.

Mary Lee said...

What a fun, fun poem!

Love this about God: his "genuine, no-kidding-around omnipotence," the chatter of the poets across the aisles in the library, and

"it’s hard to shake the habit of digression.
Wandering has always been my people’s way
whether we’re in a desert or narration."

Plus, your picture goes so perfectly with its autumn light.

laurasalas said...

Love what I read of it, though I have to admit that I really don't care for long poems (especially on-screen vs on-page) and didn't make it through all of this one.

Love these lines (among others):

I was so busy focusing on the desert’s
stinginess with everything but rumor.

Can't wait to see your terza!

Andromeda Jazmon said...

Laura I don't like long poems either and usually don't read them all the way through (confession time). But this one hooked me in and I had to see how she ended it. I was surprised at how long the form stretched. Mine certainly won't be anywhere near this length!! No one will need to scroll to read it - promise!! :)