Recently poet Steven Withrow shared a poem he’d written using a rather difficult formula devised by Gerard Manley Hopkins called a Curtal sonnet and featuring another favorite poetic devise of Hopkins, sprung rhythm. Here is the formula: abcabc dcbdc or abcabc dbcdc with the last line a tail, or half a line. Sprung rhythm requires a specific number of stressed syllables per line but leaves the number of unstressed syllables open. It has been described as a conversational form of poetry.
And here is “Pied Beauty,” one of Manley’s best known examples.
Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Gerard Manley Hopkins
I love a challenge so I’ve decided to write my November Word of the Month Poetry Challenge poem as a Curtal sonnet.
And so, my friend Steven, if I fail, this will be on your head! Monday I will begin.
My M.O.W. is also a babe. See why I’m so confused all the time?
She says she’s wearing hose but I tell everyone she sneaked out and got her legs tattooed.
She’s also quick to point out that I write fiction. Whatever that means.
But one thing we learn as writers is to always go with your best character. So I’m not so dumb after all.
From us to you, may your holidays bring pleasure and meaning to you and your loved ones this year.
David and Sandy
P.S. I tried to get her to wear red and green hose. You can see how far I got with that.
First time I met Jule she was a baby and I was fifteen. When I held her, I was completely charmed. When she went to sleep in my arms, the deal was sealed. I knew for sure and certain that she was my sister.
Today Jule Egleston is a mother and grandmother, and my sister. She is business manager for the Monett Times in Monett, Missouri. I’m proud of her in the way that big brothers are allowed to be. She’s also fighting pancreatic cancer. This week she spent six hours taking her second of six 6-hour sessions of chemotherapy. The first one made her sick. We’re hoping she gets along better this time.
My sister is a brave soul. I believe she will whip this thing. But even brave souls can use a little support. If you pray, I ask you to pray for her. If not, then please keep her in your thoughts. Either way, I thank you.
Happy first day of the last month of a whizbang, humdinger year. Let’s go with SHOP for December’s word challenge. It can be used as a verb or noun, within the context of the season or for any other purpose your creative imaginations can conjure up. (Pssst, the picture is supposed to be subliminal.)
Congratulations to all who contributed November poems inspired by “soul,” including Jean Polland, Joyce Joslin Lorenson, Beverly Ann McCall, Jane Yolen, Karen Eastlund, Linda Boyden, Cheryl Harness, Mary Nida Smith, Donna Welch Earnhardt, Robin Williams, Cory Corrado, Bryn Strudwick, Jane Heitman Healy, Janet Kay Gallagher, and Linda Baie. If I’ve overlooked anyone, please let me know.
I would love to see all of this month’s poets back plus a good many more. If you’ve been holding off all year, you’re about out of year, baby!
Yesterday morning Family Voices held its “Waving Goodbye” celebration on the campus of Drury University. It was a beautiful day and we said our goodbyes with full hearts and high spirits. I wanted to share a couple of pictures taken by Jackie Rehwald at News-Leader.
Of the nearly eighty people who participated in some way over our seven year run, twenty signed up to attend. Considering that we held the event at 7:30 in the morning, I thought that was a remarkable percentage!
We gave away our remaining books to students at Shady Dell Elementary and received some sweet thank you notes and pictures. Then Laurie Edmondson and I, on behalf of Family Voices, presented to Cindy Howell our remaining funds of $1,046.05, which she accepted on behalf of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.
Thank you, dear hearts all, for our work that reached into 1,000 families, preaching our gospel about reading to young children. We can’t know if we did any good. But to think we did not is unacceptable.
We said this was going to be our “Waving Goodbye” party, and we meant it.
Now spread the word: READ TO YOUR KIDS!