‘Truth and the Past’ … Three Fibs

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Poets have experimented with poetic form for as long as poetry has existed.  One of the most recent exercises in poetic form utilises the mathematics of the Fibonacci sequence and was introduced in recent years by the American author, Gregory K. Pincus.    Such poems or verses are often termed ‘FIBS’.

What is a Fib?

‘ The Fibonacci poem is a poetry form based on the structure of the Fibonacci number sequence. For those unfamiliar with the Fibonacci Sequence, it is a mathematical sequence in which every figure is the sum of the two preceding it. Thus, you begin with 1 and the sequence follows as such: 1+1=2; then in turn 1+2=3; then 2+3=5; then 3+5=8 and so on. The poetry sequence therefore consists of lines of 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, and so on with each number representing the number of syllables or words that a writer places in each line of the poem. As a literary device, it is used as a formatted pattern in which one can offer meaning in any organized way, providing the number sequence remains the constancy of the form.   The subject of the Fibonacci poem has no restriction, but the difference between a good fib and a great fib is the poetic element that speaks to the reader.’   This description of the form is quoted from:  http://www.musepiepress.com/fibreview/

I give three of my own attempts at this poetic form below . . .

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When

At

The end

of our days

We review our past

Let us not wish to deny it

 

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Stay

Think

Resolve

To recount

In all honesty

Only what is valid and true

When at last we make the journey to meet our maker

 

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Speak,

Now,

To me,

my poet,

Of your love for me,

In melodious soothing words,

To nourish the feelings which I long to hear you say.

 

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Stillness

 

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‘Solitude’: Rydal Water, Cumbria, The Lake District, UK … Pen & Ink – WHB 1991  ©

 

STILLNESS

 

This stillness and the beauty all around me

Bring with them peace and grace for which I yearn;

For here among the lakes and mountains resting

I sense my hopes and dreams will now return.

 

For now I’ve reached a time when life has bitten,

Reminding me of pleasures once enjoyed;

Since lost in cares and daily obligations

How Nature can supplant and fill the void.

 

Its healing powers I know and cannot question;

They bring delights I cannot bear to miss.

They sing to me of other loves and places,

And speak to me of other times than this.

 

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W.B.Yeats – ‘The Salley Gardens’

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William Holman Hunt – The hireling Shepherd (detail) 1851 (Manchester Art Gallery, UK

The Salley Gardens

 

Down by the salley gardens my love and I did meet;
She passed the salley gardens with little snow-white feet.
She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree;
But I, being young and foolish, with her would not agree.

In a field by the river my love and I did stand,
And on my leaning shoulder she laid her snow-white hand.
She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs;
But I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears.

 

William Butler Yeats
1865-1939

 

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Yeats has said that his composition of this poem was “an attempt to reconstruct an old song from three lines imperfectly remembered by an old peasant woman in the village of Ballisdoare, Co.Sligo.  “Salley” or “sally” is a form of the Standard English word “sallow”, i.e., a tree of the genus  Salix. It is close in sound to the Irish word saileach, meaning willow.   Click on the link below to hear a sung version of Yeats’ poem by Maura O’Connell with Karen Matheson …

‘Down By The Sally Gardens’

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Thoughts On A Morning Mist

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‘A Sussex Morning’ … Photo: WHB – October 2017   ©

 

The morning mist that masks my view
Slowly lifts its damask shroud
Then memory comes to lift my mood
Bringing to mind that distant scene
Reminding of what my life has been

For then, before I lost, I’d loved,
And she has meant the world to me
In spring and summer life was good
Till autumn brought its golden glow
Gnarled time revealing what I now know.

That when those masking clouds descend
Proffering winter’s icy blasts
Our world which once held such delights
Tells me that now the time is here
To set aside despair and fear

That what we had and valued most
Was all worthwhile and counted more
Than all the pains which followed on
For life renews itself in hope
And those who follow, they will cope.

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Edna St. Vincent Millay – ‘“What lips my lips have kissed’

(No.60 of my favourite short poems)

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This Sonnet is by Edna St. Vincent Millay, an American poet and playwright who was born in Rockland, Maine, in 1892.  I find it a moving and poignant poem looking back on her more youthful days with regret and intense longing.  Her sonnet is written in the Italian form, divided into two parts – an eight-lined octet, followed by a six-line sestet, here presented as just two sentences.  It is both reflective and filled with remorse.

Millay’s first published poem, ‘Renascence‘ was particularly well received and launched her on her writing career.  For a large part of her life Millay lived and worked among her Bohemian friends in New York’s Greenwich Village milieu.  Known to her friends as Vincent, she was openly bisexual, and gradually accrued both fame and some notoriety.   In 1923, she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for ‘The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver’.   Edna St Vincent Millay died in 1950.

 

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“What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why”

By Edna St. Vincent Millay

 

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,

I have forgotten, and what arms have lain

Under my head till morning; but the rain

Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh

Upon the glass and listen for reply,

And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain

For unremembered lads that not again

Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.

 

Thus in the winter stands the lonely tree,

Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,

Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:

I cannot say what loves have come and gone,

I only know that summer sang in me

A little while, that in me sings no more.

 

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My Distant Star

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Van Gogh – 1888: ‘Starry Night over the Rhone’ (detail) … Musee d’Orsay

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MY DISTANT STAR

 

It’s not what I meant
by following my star
but that’s how it is
you’re so remote and afar.

so in my reflections
I make the connections
I’ve been living your life
I’ve laid siege to your mind
and fenced in your feelings
thinking your thoughts
and wishing your wants
your dreams I’ve been dreaming

 so what am I doing
with this surrogate presence?
what will I find
and what can I prove
amidst mist and fashion
by chasing each clue?
a sense of your passion
that essence of you?

I need to give you a meaning
to capture that feeling
of truly belonging
no longer just dreaming
no longer an adjunct
no remote stalker
given to stealing
your dreams, thoughts and wishes
your love and your kisses

 and then if I dare
all that I want
is your love to snare
rejoice in the glow
all else is despair

 

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Wistful Erotica

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ACROSTIC VERSE (Two related verses)

hen our paths crossed those years ago
n time long past and place afar
o young and pure the afterglow
hat kissing then ‘neath that bright star
orever memories did bestow
ntil that required au revoir
ost us a life and let us go

ach and every time I try,
R esolutely to be free,
O ver the air your soft words fly,
T ouching, teasing, tempting me,
I n a whisper and a sigh,
C hiding senses your charms to see;
A nd I’ll surrender by and by.

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W.H.Auden – The More Loving One

(No.58 of my favourite short poems)

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My drawing of Auden as he was in 1970 – 2001   ©

The More Loving One

Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.

Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.

W. H. Auden (1907 – 1973)

 

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The Double Rainbow

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Photograph:  ‘Double Rainbow near Stonehenge, Wiltshire, England’  – WHB – July 2009   ©

 

The Double Rainbow

 When the double rainbow comes
In all its lustrous splendour,
Then will I sing of my true love,
How sweet and kind and tender.

Her beauty sings the sky’s delight,
Gently she shows her grace;
I love the light within her soul
Which permeates her face.

For me fond Nature’s miracles
Cannot describe suffice
The beauty which I find in her,
My love from Paradise.

 

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Wendy Cope – ‘After the Lunch’

(No.57 of my favourite short poems)

Waterloo Bridge

After the Lunch

On Waterloo Bridge, where we said our goodbyes,
the weather conditions bring tears to my eyes.
I wipe them away with a black woolly glove
And try not to notice I’ve fallen in love.

On Waterloo Bridge I am trying to think:
This is nothing. you’re high on the charm and the drink.
But the juke-box inside me is playing a song
That says something different. And when was it wrong?

On Waterloo Bridge with the wind in my hair
I am tempted to skip. You’re a fool. I don’t care.
the head does its best but the heart is the boss-
I admit it before I am halfway across.

Wendy Cope

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Wendy Cope is one of the most acclaimed living comic poets writing in English.  She was raised in Kent, England and has published several volumes of poetry including Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis and Serious Concerns.  Cope possesses a remarkable talent for parody and for using humour to address serious topics.

She has a keen eye for the everyday, mundane aspects of English life, especially the desires, frustrations, hopes, confusions and emotions in intimate relationships.  Dr Rowan Williams, the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, and a poet himself, has written that: “Wendy Cope is without doubt the wittiest of contemporary English poets, and says a lot of extremely serious things”.

Notes adapted from Wikipedia and other online sources.

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