Today I am ‘having a go’ at the Etheree poetic form. It is somewhat similar to the Cinquain and the Rictameter, both of which I have tackled previously. The Etheree is a ten line form ascending in syllable count for ten unrhymed lines, and it should focus on a single idea or subject. Thus the syllable count is in the form: 1.2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. This can be altered to give a Reverse Etheree: 10.9.8.7.22.214.171.124.2.1.
The form is attributed to an American poet, Etheree Taylor Armstrong of Arkansas (1918 – 1994). Little seems to be known of her life except the poetic form she devised.
I have attempted both forms below – on the subjects of ‘Idleness’ and ‘Life’ …
‘Love In Idleness’ . . . Pen & Wash – WHB
IDLENESS – A REVERSE ETHEREE
Today I vow to spend in idleness, to do no more than listen keenly, allow the world to speak to me, while I, in turn, consider which way my life now leads, trying to find peace within my mind that will see my life through.
LIFE – A REGULAR ETHEREE
Life, in truth, defeats me. Midst storm and stress I struggle to keep that equilibrium which holds me in its stillness, waiting with some trepidation for that final push to reach the stars where my disquietude will cease to be.
The ‘Gormenghast Trilogy’ by Mervyn Peake, is one of my all-time favourites. For me, so much more dramatic, gripping, atmospheric, mind-grabbing and enjoyable than the fantasies of Tolkien and J. K. Rowling, much as I have enjoyed those. Perhaps I shall have more to say about Gormenghast in a future blog, but, for now, just a taste of Peake’s lighter side, from a published collection of his, with the title ‘A Book of Nonsense’. It was said during Mervyn Peake’s lifetime that his serious work was often full of humour, while his nonsense verse was full of philosophy.
Red Geraniums … Photo – WHB – 2017
THE TROUBLE WITH GERANIUMS
The trouble with geraniums is that they’re much too red! The trouble with my toast is that it’s far too full of bread.
The trouble with a diamond is that it’s much too bright. The same applies to fish and stars and the electric light.
The troubles with the stars I see lies in the way they fly. The trouble with myself is all self-centred in the eye.
The trouble with my looking-glass is that it shows me, me; there’s trouble in all sorts of things where it should never be.
By Mervyn Peake. This poem is from “A Book of Nonsense” by Mervyn Peake, first published by Peter Owen in 1972 and re-issued in 1999.