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Iambic pentameter thread (it's rooted in the Shakespeare thread, he said)

WAB

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Can any kind of cat be in the box?




Your answers must be in the proper form.

I mean the proper meter. Call me Norm.

No, don't. My name is William. Call me Bill.

I'm feminine and really rather silly.

So call me Bill. But never call me Billy.
 

Wiploc

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Only two kinds of cat can be enboxed.

Live cat's preferred but dead is allowed,

for either satisfies our protocol.
 
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WAB

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And if you'd rather you can call me Jill.

This thread's about the sound, about technique.

And about Stratford, and, of course, a Will.
 

spikepipsqueak

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One does not any cat embox, y'know.
They choose their own emboxment, if at all.
So when, at play, the cardboard overturns.
A cat may choose to loiter to imply
A situation planned out long before
'til some unwary foot should wander close
Then that soft prey will feel the feline wrath
Of Mighty Paws.
 

WAB

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One does not any cat embox, y'know.
They choose their own emboxment, if at all.
So when, at play, the cardboard overturns.
A cat may choose to loiter to imply
A situation planned out long before
'til some unwary foot should wander close
Then that soft prey will feel the feline wrath
Of Mighty Paws.

Spike-Speare!

What I really like is that you ended it with a typically Shakespearian enjambment, and you get two extra points for capitalising the formidable Mighty Paws.

But please all, feel free to ignore this thread. I was in a manic fervor last night.

There will probably be a lot of weirdity coming from me in upcoming days.
 

Angry Floof

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"Da dum da dum da dum da dum da dum." This is how I stop compulsively counting in my head while doing countable things that don't actually need counting. That's all I have for iambic pentameter.
 

Wiploc

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cat2.jpg


Only two kinds of cat can be enboxed.

Live cat's preferred but dead is allowed.

Our protocol is satisfied whichever.

Your middle line is muddled. Spain it, Lucy.


You're right. That's unclear. Thanks for the heads up.


When we open the box, the wave function collapses to reveal that the cat is either dead or alive. We'd rather have it alive, because then it can purr enjoy tuna and stuff. But the uncertainty principle is illustrated either way, regardless of whether the cat is dead or alive.

The question is what kind of cat can be in the box.

The answer is two kinds: alive and dead. But we'd rather have the live one.

Line two: Live cat's preferred but dead is allowed.

It would be clearer this way, "A live cat is preferred, but a dead cat is allowed.

But that wouldn't be iambic pentameter.

WAB's solution is perfect: "We want the cat alive, but dead's okay."

catwrong.JPG
 

Tharmas

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My freshman English teacher taught us how
To scan the lines of poems and odes and such.
The lines of sonnets always scan he said
As iambs, nothing else would do for them.
So then he gave to test us an exam
In scanning poems of famous scribes of yore:
“When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
“I summon up remembrance of things past.
“I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought
“And with old woes new wail my dear times waste.”
To blow the minds of freshman was his love.
He’s damned to hell forever; may he rot!

(I'm sorry but line number four is rough)
 

Wiploc

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My freshman English teacher taught us how
To scan the lines of poems and odes and such.
The lines of sonnets always scan he said
As iambs, nothing else would do for them.
So then he gave to test us an exam
In scanning poems of famous scribes of yore:
“When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
“I summon up remembrance of things past.
“I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought
“And with old woes new wail my dear times waste.”
To blow the minds of freshman was his love.
He’s damned to hell forever; may he rot!

(I'm sorry but line number four is rough)

I don't know why you think line four is rough.*
If you divide it into feet, in each foot the second syllable has more stress than the first.
That's the definition of iambic. The line is perfectly iambic.

As i | ambs, noth | ing else | would do | for them.

I'd put commas around, "he said," in line three, and a period after, "iambs," in line four. That helps me follow the enjambment, and it's grammatically better (no run-on sentence).

* My first line scans as iambic pentameter, but that's purely accidental.
 

southernhybrid

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WAB won't like this......:p

I studied Shakespeare a long time ago
I no longer like his words, this I know
Cats in a box are a problem for me
Who wants them to suffer in misery
Or are the kitties dead and need some peace
If they still breathe, they need a quick release
What the fuck are we talking about here
Shakespeare gives me a navel gazing stare
But some here seem to disagree with me
Take your cats and Shakepeare and set me free
I have so many better things to do
And if you're being honest, so do you
I better leave before I get a boo


That was one line short of a sonnet too.
 

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Here's a  Villanelle I wrote. (Checking the time-stamp I see I last edited it Sept. 2018. Time flies!)

Do not accept these politics of hate
Trump bluffs and farts and mocks but mostly lies.
Rise up and fight before it is too late

So Christians worshiping God's glory great
Who strive to see the world with loving eyes
Do not accept these politics of hate

So women often treated as mere bait
Then told by Trump that guys will just be guys
Rise up and fight before it is too late

So Blacks and those who care about Blacks' fate
Or mourn when Liberty's great Statue cries
Do not accept these politics of hate

So Soldiers risking lives to save the state
While Trump's men sell our Land to Russian spies
Rise up and fight before it is too late

Though Wall Street feasts while profits do inflate
A righteous man unbowed stays strong and tries
To not accept these politics of hate
To rise and fight before it is too late​

One reason I didn't "publish" this villanelle, was my indecisiveness. Here's the finaL quatrain of an alternate version with different refrain:

Who could think that this was who we need?
This thug that Russian mobster money buys.
This sociopathic Trump is Devil's seed.
Do not bow down to this false god of greed.​
 

Bomb#20

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So many cats have I they barely fit.
A black-and-white, a tabby; still some more:
three solid black, the siblings of the first.
Elected leader's said to want a cat.
Is Biden's future house itself a box?
A Quantum Sup'position: Who's the Pres'?
 

spikepipsqueak

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I am a little smarty, so it seems.
I engineered enjambment, unawares.
It sounds more like a way to get the cat
Into the box than any poetic device.




Thanks, WAB. It's ages since I've played around like this. I'd forgotten how much fun it is.
 
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WAB

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WAB won't like this......:p

I studied Shakespeare a long time ago
I no longer like his words, this I know
Cats in a box are a problem for me
Who wants them to suffer in misery
Or are the kitties dead and need some peace
If they still breathe, they need a quick release
What the fuck are we talking about here
Shakespeare gives me a navel gazing stare
But some here seem to disagree with me
Take your cats and Shakepeare and set me free
I have so many better things to do
And if you're being honest, so do you
I better leave before I get a boo


That was one line short of a sonnet too.

Sorry SOHY, I was in a manic state and thought that we could all converse in iambic pentameter and that it might be funny.

I used the old cat in the box thingy because it's popular and thinky and cats in boxes is funny and the words cat and box are good for IP.

My theory is that whoever wrote Shakespeare was a native genius, probably an autodidact. Writing the way he/she did was easy for them. It came naturally and in great abundance. I don't think that anyone who was a middling poet in their thirties could possibly have written the work that is attributed to Shakespeare.
 
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WAB

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So many cats have I they barely fit.
A black-and-white, a tabby; still some more:
three solid black, the siblings of the first.
Elected leader's said to want a cat.
Is Biden's future house itself a box?
A Quantum Sup'position: Who's the Pres'?

:joy:
 

WAB

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I am a little smarty, so it seems.
I engineered enjambment, unawares.
It sounds more like a way to get the cat
Into the box than any poetic device.




Thanks, WAB. It's ages since I've played around like this. I'd forgotten how much fun it is.

Really?

Shakespeare very often enjambed his/her lines on/to the second or third beat, like you did. That is something Oxford rarely did.

Are you really doing it accidentally?

Good on ya! You're a natural.
 

WAB

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Here's a  Villanelle I wrote. (Checking the time-stamp I see I last edited it Sept. 2018. Time flies!)

Do not accept these politics of hate
Trump bluffs and farts and mocks but mostly lies.
Rise up and fight before it is too late

So Christians worshiping God's glory great
Who strive to see the world with loving eyes
Do not accept these politics of hate

So women often treated as mere bait
Then told by Trump that guys will just be guys
Rise up and fight before it is too late

So Blacks and those who care about Blacks' fate
Or mourn when Liberty's great Statue cries
Do not accept these politics of hate

So Soldiers risking lives to save the state
While Trump's men sell our Land to Russian spies
Rise up and fight before it is too late

Though Wall Street feasts while profits do inflate
A righteous man unbowed stays strong and tries
To not accept these politics of hate
To rise and fight before it is too late​

One reason I didn't "publish" this villanelle, was my indecisiveness. Here's the finaL quatrain of an alternate version with different refrain:

Who could think that this was who we need?
This thug that Russian mobster money buys.
This sociopathic Trump is Devil's seed.
Do not bow down to this false god of greed.​

I have two vils I'm quite proud of, both posted in the Poetry thread hereabouts.

One is about Wounded Knee, the other is about poor Helga Goebbels.

Both were very difficult to write.

I like your vil. Well composed. :)
 

WAB

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If verse that's blank be something thou enjoy'st,
Thus wrote Poul Anderson a novel fine...

https://www.amazon.com/Midsummer-Te...words=midsummer+tempest&qid=1607069958&sr=8-2

Thanks.

I love blank verse when used by the right hand. I suspect that about 97% of all the blank verse in English ever written is tedious and boring. And a very great deal of it is horrible and ugly and nasty. And I mean the formally published stuff. Never mind the endless piles of amateur gibberish.

I love blank verse by Milton, Keats, Tennyson, Browning, Frost, Stevens, Wilbur, Hecht, Auden, Pound, etc.

But the blank verse of Shakespeare is ten times greater than all of them combined, times a hundred.
 

Wiploc

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I'm working on the 1400s. I'll probably need to make rhymes later, but right now I'm just trying to remember how to write meter.

Comments, corrections, and suggestions are all welcome. But I want to publish a little book on using poetry to help yourself remember history.

So, if you contribute, how will I know what is mine and what is yours? I won't know.

So I propose to assume that -- unless somebody specifically says different -- I am free to adopt any suggestions as my own.

I hope that's okay.


The 1400s.


Constantinople falls before the Turks.
New Rome soon bears the name of Istanbul.
{Now that I'm posting it, the first line doesn't work for me.}

At Orleans the dark horse Joan upsets
the arc of war. Since Agincourt won’t come
again, the Brits cry, “Hold, enough!” {last line only four feet}


At Castillon the cannon makes all castles
obsolete -- their resale value shot.
{No clue what’s wrong with the second line, but it sure doesn’t seem right.}

The navigator Henry steers his pilots far away.
De Gama even manages to sail to far Cathay.
{7 feet per line} {repeated word “far”}


Herr Gutenberg is pressing his new type.
{Not strictly iambic. But it is one of Jerome’s allowable exceptions. (#3, below) Allowable or not, I don’t like it in this case.

Judson Jerome in The Poet’s Handbook:
[These four exceptions] account for 90 [sic. 90 percent?] of those you find in metrical verse in English.



  1. DUM da da DUM da DUM {trochee}​
  2. da da DUM DUM da DUM {pyrric, spondee}​
  3. da DUM da da DUM da DUM {anapest}​
  4. da DUM da DUM da DUM da {extrametrical syllable}​



Let me now fill in words to correspond to the syllables in my da DUM lines. …

  1. Whispering branches scrape
  2. on the cold panes of thought.
  3. I dream of escape, but I
  4. am caught by inner whispers.

Elsewhere in The Poet's Handbook, Jerome says that exception number 1, starting a line with DUM da da DUM, or, indeed, using that in the middle of a line if it comes after a pause, is so normal that you wouldn't even call that "loosely iambic." It counts as iambic because it works so naturally in iambic poems.
}
 

jab

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There's only one excreting cat allowed
In my apartment's litter box: it's Scruf.
 

Wiploc

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There's only one excreting cat allowed
In my apartment's litter box: it's Scruf.


If only he'd let litter stay in box,

instead he kicks and spreads around the stuff.
 

WAB

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There's only one excreting cat allowed
In my apartment's litter box: it's Scruf.


If only he'd let litter stay in box,

instead he kicks and spreads around the stuff.

It sounds contrived when you eschew a 'the'.


Since cats are dumber than most kinds of rockses
They cannot keep the litter in the boxes.

-------------------------------

It's good, condensing history in verse.
Remembering's easy when the data's terse.
 

Wiploc

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Wiploc

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10 to 15 Thousand Years Ago

Milankovitch is turning up the heat;
The Holocene begins as ice recedes.
Now Yupik wander south, their land bridge sunk.
 

Swammerdami

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Against humongous odds in Georgia land
Two heroes rise to save us from the Mitch.
Will these United States uphold their vows?
Or will our Congress only serve the rich?

Warnóck does lead Ms. Loeffler by an inch.
Perdue trails Ossoff by a breadth of hair.
Let's pray to God if such a thing there is
Or is that God just sobbing in despair?

Our once great land is now a laughing-stock.
But Georgia has a chance to save the day.
Give Kamala and Joe a helpful start:
Turn out and vote, turn out and vote I say!
 

Wiploc

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2000 to 3000 BCE
Stonehenge and Troy and Pyramids are built.
The Semi-legend Gilgamesh is king.
Camels become domestic, horses too.
Sand melts to glass, and thru we darkly see.
Is Noah boarding tsetse flies, but not the
unicorns? Whatever floats his boat.

10 to 15 Thousand Years Ago (8000 to 1300 BCE)
Milankovitch is turning up the heat;
The Holocene begins as ice recedes.
Their land bridge sunk, the Yupic wander south.
 

Wiploc

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2000 to 1000 BCE:
Walk Like an Egyptian

Bhagavad Gita ponders evils of war.
Levant is now within the age of iron.
In Labyrinth, Theseus slays the minotaur.
Now Hammurabi, king of Babylon,
rewrites the law so we see eye to eye.
Young Tutankhamun sits on Egypt’s throne.
On Wrangle, woolly mammoths finally die.
If Moses was, this may be when he wandered
and lost to Philistines the Ark of God.
Odysseus offers Troy a fabled horse.
 

Wiploc

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I switched to anapestic for this period,
because I wanted to use the opening line from
Byron's "Destruction of Shennacherib.


1000 to 500 BCE:

The Assyrian comes down like a wolf on the fold.
The Olympics are started in 766.
The Israeli kings David and Solomon rule.
A wonder in Babylon: gardens that hang.
And the Iron Age spreads across Europe.
Jeremiads are sorrowful. Chinese make prints.
Zoroaster the prophet is playing with fire.



These two lines don't want to be thrown away,
but neither are they willing to turn anapestic.
Maybe they'll be more cooperative in the second draft.


A rosy-fingered poet sings of wine dark seas. [6 feet, iambic]
Upanishads, a sacred text of Hindus. [5 feet, iambic]
 

WAB

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Just wanted to mention, Wiploc, that I think you have a good idea going, and I like your samples.
 

Wiploc

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200s BCE:

The power of Carthage rules the western sea.
So upstart Rome constructs a mighty fleet.
In Punic wars, then, Carthage battles Rome.
Hannibal’s elephants dislike the Alps.


300s BCE:
Athens sins against philosophy

A clever pest, Socrates drinks his last,
but argues on in Plato’s dialogues.
The restless legged Aristotle wanders
the Parapet, then tutors Alexander.
Alexander conquers Greece and Persia.
On Alexander’s death the empire splits.


400s BCE:
300

Thermopylae and Salamis and Xerxes,
philosophy, playwrights, Parthenon.
At Marathon the battle’s won, now run.
“The sea!” cry Greeks on walking tour of Persia.
 

Wiploc

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100s BCE:
Carthage must be destroyed

Rosetta’s Stone. Halley’s comet. Will cheap
Chinese paper destroy the velum market?
If Carthage falls, who’ll stand against the Romans?
Mediterranean’s now a Roman lake.

-

I'm wondering if that last line wouldn't be better in the zero hundreds BCE.
 

Wiploc

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000s BCE:
Gesundheit

“I came, I saw, I conquered,” Caesar bragged.
The die is cast; the Rubicon is crossed.
Caesar’s not king; he’s dictator perpetuo
Yes, Cleopatra blossomed from a carpet,
but later on she’s searching for her asp.
King Herod the puppet rules Israel for Rome.
The ides May trigger allergies: “e’tu!”
 

WAB

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And now...

Just one of my fave bits from Shakespeare:

***

from The Life of Henry the Fift.

O For a Muse of Fire, that would ascend
The brightest Heauen of Inuention:
A Kingdome for a Stage, Princes to Act,
And Monarchs to behold the swelling Scene.
Then should the Warlike Harry, like himselfe,
Assume the Port of Mars, and at his heeles
( Leasht in, like Hounds) should Famine, Sword, and Fire
Crouch for employment. But pardon, Gentles all:
The flat vnraysed Spirits, that hath dar'd,
On this vnworthy Scaffold, to bring forth
So great an Obiect. Can this Cock-Pit hold
The vastie fields of France? Or may we cramme
Within this Woodden O. the very Caskes
That did affright the Ayre at Agincourt?
O pardon: since a crooked Figure may
Attest in little place a Million,
And let vs, Cyphers to this great Accompt,
On your imaginarie Forces worke.
Suppose within the Girdle of these Walls
Are now confin'd two mightie Monarchies,
Whose high, vp-reared, and abutting Fronts,
The perillous narrow Ocean parts asunder.
Peece out our imperfections with your thoughts:
Into a thousand parts diuide one Man,
And make imaginarie Puissance.
Thinke when we talke of Horses, that you see them
Printing their prowd Hoofes i'th' receiuing Earth:
For 'tis your thoughts that now must deck our Kings,
Carry them here and there: Iumping o're Times;
Turning th'accomplishment of many yeeres
Into an Howre-glasse: for the which supplie,
Admit me Chorus to this Historie;
Who Prologue-like, your humble patience pray,
Gently to heare, kindly to iudge our Play.
 

Wiploc

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400s:
The first Pope

Weakening Rome withdraws it’s troops from Britain.
Angles and Saxons land and fill the void.

The Visigoths and Vandals capture Rome.
When Odoacer boots the final emperor,
the Western Empire then is heard no more.

Egypt is weak and New Rome Orthodox;
The western church finds Leo taking charge.
Attila scourges Italy, but Leo
turns him back. Thereafter it’s accepted:
the Roman Bishop heads the Catholic Church

For Saint Augustine, chastity does chafe.
Clovis unites the Franks, turns Catholic.
Thereafter, Arian hopes look ever blacker.

A language old is new: Old English, new.


300s:


Great Constantine co-opts the Christian church,
or maybe it’s the other way around.
He builds New Rome, Constantinopolis.
The Huns chase Visigoths across the Danube.
With iron stirrups, Gothic cavalry
has Roman foot troops feeling obsolete.

Ufilas preaches Arian gospel to Goths,
but trinitarian doctrine holds in Rome.
Two hundred years of blood result from this.
Nicaean councils back the trinity.


200s:
“How some have been deposed; some slain in war
Some poison’d by their wives: some sleeping kill’d;
All murder’d”

In Rome, the military monarchy
begets a military anarchy.
By splitting East from West, Diocletian
stabilizes Rome – and none too soon –
for Persia’s growing strength now rivals Rome’s.


100s:
Rome at it’s peak

Ptolemy’s earth is stopped, nested in spheres.
Rome, under Trajan, reaches its largest size.
Then Hadrian and Antonine build walls.


000s:
"Quinctilius Varus, give me back my Legions!"

Three legions lost at Teutoberger Wald.
Augustus dies; Tiberius takes the reign.
Londinium is founded: a Roman army camp.
Josephus writes about a Jewish spinoff.


000s BCE:
Gesundheit

“I came, I saw, I conquered,” Caesar bragged.
The die is cast; the Rubicon is crossed.
Caesar’s not king, but dictator perpetuo.
Yes, Cleopatra blossomed from a carpet,
but later on she’s searching for her asp.
King Herod, puppet, rules Israel for Rome.
The ides may trigger allergies: “e’tu!”
Surprise defeat: Vesuvius beats Pompeii.
 

WAB

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400s:
The first Pope

Weakening Rome withdraws it’s troops from Britain.
Angles and Saxons land and fill the void.

The Visigoths and Vandals capture Rome.
When Odoacer boots the final emperor,
the Western Empire then is heard no more.

Egypt is weak and New Rome Orthodox;
The western church finds Leo taking charge.
Attila scourges Italy, but Leo
turns him back. Thereafter it’s accepted:
the Roman Bishop heads the Catholic Church

For Saint Augustine, chastity does chafe.
Clovis unites the Franks, turns Catholic.
Thereafter, Arian hopes look ever blacker.

A language old is new: Old English, new.


300s:


Great Constantine co-opts the Christian church,
or maybe it’s the other way around.
He builds New Rome, Constantinopolis.
The Huns chase Visigoths across the Danube.
With iron stirrups, Gothic cavalry
has Roman foot troops feeling obsolete.

Ufilas preaches Arian gospel to Goths,
but trinitarian doctrine holds in Rome.
Two hundred years of blood result from this.
Nicaean councils back the trinity.


200s:
“How some have been deposed; some slain in war
Some poison’d by their wives: some sleeping kill’d;
All murder’d”

In Rome, the military monarchy
begets a military anarchy.
By splitting East from West, Diocletian
stabilizes Rome – and none too soon –
for Persia’s growing strength now rivals Rome’s.


100s:
Rome at it’s peak

Ptolemy’s earth is stopped, nested in spheres.
Rome, under Trajan, reaches its largest size.
Then Hadrian and Antonine build walls.


000s:
"Quinctilius Varus, give me back my Legions!"

Three legions lost at Teutoberger Wald.
Augustus dies; Tiberius takes the reign.
Londinium is founded: a Roman army camp.
Josephus writes about a Jewish spinoff.


000s BCE:
Gesundheit

“I came, I saw, I conquered,” Caesar bragged.
The die is cast; the Rubicon is crossed.
Caesar’s not king, but dictator perpetuo.
Yes, Cleopatra blossomed from a carpet,
but later on she’s searching for her asp.
King Herod, puppet, rules Israel for Rome.
The ides may trigger allergies: “e’tu!”
Surprise defeat: Vesuvius beats Pompeii.

:joy:

"nested in spheres." Bravo! That's the stuff !

I really enjoyed these, Wiploc.
 

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The following should be in the prose thread, but since it refers to iambic pentameter (and there's a cat!) :

"One day, one of Radnóti's friends saw him on the streets of Budapest, and the poet was mumbling something like, 'Du-duh-du-duh-du-duh,' and his friend said, 'Don't you understand?! Hitler is invading Poland!' And Radnóti supposedly answered, 'Yes, but this is the only thing I have to fight with.' As his poetry makes clear, Radnóti believed that Fascism was the destruction of order. It both destroyed and vulgarized civil society. It was as if you wanted to create an ideal cat, so you took your cat, killed it, removed its flesh, put it into some kind of mold, and then pressed it into the shape of a cat. That's what Fascism does, and that's what Communism does. They both destroy an intricate social order to set up a criminally simple-minded order."[32] -

Frederick Turner, on translating the poet Miklos Radnoti [emphasis mine]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Turner_(poet)#Literary_translation


***Now scroll back up and read Wiploc's posts. Wonderful metrical variations and substitutions, caesuras aptly placed, effective enjambment*, AAAAaaaaaaaAND - you get to learn some history. :joy:



*Attila scourges Italy, but Leo
turns him back.


Shakespeare is smiling.
 
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Wiploc

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:joy:

"nested in spheres." Bravo! That's the stuff !

I really enjoyed these, Wiploc.

Thanks.

I'm using Wikipedia as my main source of history.
I believe the phrase, "nested in spheres" came from there.
 

WAB

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:joy:

"nested in spheres." Bravo! That's the stuff !

I really enjoyed these, Wiploc.

Thanks.

I'm using Wikipedia as my main source of history.
I believe the phrase, "nested in spheres" came from there.

well, rats, then. I thought it came from your noodle. Anyway, it's still brilliant to fit it into your works.

****

To all,

I will be posting some Wallace Stevens, Anthony Hecht, Milton, Keats, Tennyson, and maybe Browning. Perhaps Frost. Before the thread dies its inevitable slow sinking death. No WAB thread has lasted more than a few pages.
 
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WAB

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The beginning bits of The Comedian as the Letter C, a long poem by Wallace Stevens (1923) - in my estimation some of the best IP of the last century:


i

The World without Imagination

Nota: man is the intelligence of his soil,
The sovereign ghost. As such, the Socrates
Of snails, musician of pears, principium
And lex. Sed quaeritur: is this same wig
Of things, this nincompated pedagogue,
Preceptor to the sea? Crispin at sea
Created, in his day, a touch of doubt.
An eye most apt in gelatines and jupes,
Berries of villages, a barber's eye,
An eye of land, of simple salad-beds,
Of honest quilts, the eye of Crispin, hung
On porpoises, instead of apricots,
And on silentious porpoises, whose snouts
Dibbled in waves that were mustachios,
Inscrutable hair in an inscrutable world.

One eats one paté, even of salt, quotha.
It was not so much the lost terrestrial,
The snug hibernal from that sea and salt,
That century of wind in a single puff.
What counted was mythology of self,
Blotched out beyond unblotching. Crispin,
The lutanist of fleas, the knave, the thane,
The ribboned stick, the bellowing breeches, cloak
Of China, cap of Spain, imperative haw
Of hum, inquisitorial botanist,
And general lexicographer of mute
And maidenly greenhorns, now beheld himself,
A skinny sailor peering in the sea-glass.
What word split up in clickering syllables
And storming under multitudinous tones
Was name for this short-shanks in all that brunt?
Crispin was washed away by magnitude.
The whole of life that still remained in him
Dwindled to one sound strumming in his ear,
Ubiquitous concussion, slap and sigh,
Polyphony beyond his baton's thrust.

Could Crispin stem verboseness in the sea,
The old age of a watery realist,
Triton, dissolved in shifting diaphanes
Of blue and green? A wordy, watery age
That whispered to the sun's compassion, made
A convocation, nightly, of the sea-stars,
And on the cropping foot-ways of the moon
Lay grovelling. Triton incomplicate with that
Which made him Triton, nothing left of him,
Except in faint, memorial gesturings,
That were like arms and shoulders in the waves,
Here, something in the rise and fall of wind
That seemed hallucinating horn, and here,
A sunken voice, both of remembering
And of forgetfulness, in alternate strain.
Just so an ancient Crispin was dissolved.
The valet in the tempest was annulled.
Bordeaux to Yucatan, Havana next,
And then to Carolina. Simple jaunt.
Crispin, merest minuscule in the gates,
Dejected his manner to the turbulence.
The salt hung on his spirit like a frost,
The dead brine melted in him like a dew
Of winter, until nothing of himself
Remained, except some starker, barer self
In a starker, barer world, in which the sun
Was not the sun because it never shone
With bland complaisance on pale parasols,
Beetled, in chapels, on the chaste bouquets.
Against his pipping sounds a trumpet cried
Celestial sneering boisterously. Crispin
Became an introspective voyager.....
...............................................................


https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/47428/the-comedian-as-the-letter-c
 

Wiploc

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:joy:

"nested in spheres." Bravo! That's the stuff !

I really enjoyed these, Wiploc.

Thanks.

I'm using Wikipedia as my main source of history.
I believe the phrase, "nested in spheres" came from there.

well, rats, then. I thought it came from your noodle. Anyway, it's still brilliant to fit it into your works.

Is it my fault that Wikipedia sometimes writes in iambs? [smirk]




No WAB thread has lasted more than a few pages.

I've got a lot of centuries to go, and this is only the first draft.
 

WAB

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well, rats, then. I thought it came from your noodle. Anyway, it's still brilliant to fit it into your works.

Is it my fault that Wikipedia sometimes writes in iambs? [smirk]




No WAB thread has lasted more than a few pages.

I've got a lot of centuries to go, and this is only the first draft.

Way cool. That'll give me a chance to hunt up more IP from great poets. I must remember, I don't have to limit my selections to blank verse. Maybe some Pope will be in order. He may have been the closest to Shakespeare when it comes to excellence of technique.
 

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500s:

Fat Lady Sings

King Arthur, Beowulf, and Clovis reign.
We know that one of them, at least, is real.
Clovis unites the Franks, a single realm,
then dies, dividing rule among his sons.

The Frankish civil wars involve Brunhild,
and will inspire songs of Wagner’s ring.

Scots, who are Irish, move to Caledonia,
thereafter to be called the land of Scots.

Justinian rules the eastern Roman empire,
Roman or Greek? Let’s call them Byzantine.
Triumphant Byzantines go into Spain,
and Africa, and Italy, and debt.

Academy of Plato is extinguished.
Without this final flame, the age goes dark.
But Belisarius takes Carthage
from Vandals, using armored men on horse,
so fair to say the age is also middling.
 

Wiploc

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I keep getting confused about dates and the order of events.

Back in BCE, I thought it was because the 400s perversely came after the 500s.

But it still happens. I'm sure there are many chronology errors in what I've got so far.

(Not to mention that Wikipedia says earlier dates should all be regarded as approximate or conjectural.)

My new theory is that the problem is aggravated by the fact that centuries are more recent as I go up the page

(500s

400s

300s)

but years are more recent as I go down the page.

(401

402

403).

So maybe I'll start working from the other near end, and go backwards.

Or maybe I should just reorder my notes?

Anyway, if my next post includes Covid or D-Day (not necessarily the one from Animal House), don't think that's because I think those happened in the 600s.

--

ETA:

For instance, I've got Clovis uniting the Franks in both the 500s and the 400s.
 

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I stopped writing after one stanza because I wanted a ruling from the chair.

It was the Sixth of January
. . When a country met its shame.
A band of traitors stormed the Capitol
. . And shat upon the walls of same.

This alternates pentameter with tetrameter. OK? :)


I'm being a bit tongue-in-cheek: TFT is a very courteous and pleasant place and I don't really think friends here will complain to the Mods about the tetrameters. But I am curious about terminology. Is there a special name for alternating meters like this? What about lines with nine syllables instead of ten?
 

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Editing!

I stopped writing after one stanza because I wanted a ruling from the chair.

It was the Sixth of January
. . When a country met its shame.
A band of traitors stormed the Capitol
. . And shat upon the walls of same.


This alternates pentameter with tetrameter. OK? :)


I'm being a bit tongue-in-cheek: TFT is a very courteous and pleasant place and I don't really think friends here will complain to the Mods about the tetrameters. But I am curious about terminology. Is there a special name for alternating meters like this? What about lines with nine syllables instead of ten?

Good question! I just use the word 'nonce' whilst breaking all the rules. ETA: 'When' being a headless iamb'. [ouch]

Also, I hear l1 & l2 as perhaps a tet followed by trimeter.

ETA:

Two trimeters, ie 'January ' as a feminine ending???

Hey, who's the chair BTW?
 
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Wiploc

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I looked up "ballad meter," which turns out to be the same as "common meter":

Traditional ballads are written in a meter called common meter, which consists of alternating lines of iambic tetrameter (eight syllables) with lines of iambic trimeter (six syllables). ... --google search

Meter in Ballads
Though the majority of ballads use iambs as their main foot, there is no specific meter required for a ballad. This means that while one ballad might use common meter (and many do), another ballad might use a different sort of meter. Generally speaking, ballads have a consistent meter throughout, so that a ballad in common meter will be common meter all the way through, while a ballad with another meter will use that meter all the way through. However, even poems with consistent meter tend to have some mild variations on that meter within them, meaning that a ballad in iambic pentameter will likely contain occasional lines of eleven or more syllables that break the "ten syllables per line" rule of iambic pentameter. [emphasis added] -- litcharts.com

The litcharts website looks interesting. I'll have to poke around there more.

I don't believe either of the above definitions. Meter is normally in feet these days, not syllables.

I guess we'd say Haiku is written in syllabic meter, but I can't think of anything else.

If Haiku has meter.

Let's look at the world's most famous limerick:

There once was a man from Nantucket
Who kept all his cash in a bucket.
But his daughter, named Nan,
Ran away with a man
And as for the bucket, Nantucket.

Well, blow me down.
The truncated first feet are offset by extrametrical syllables, with the result that each line has exactly the number of syllables dictated by the definitions above.

There once was a man from Nantucket
de DUM de de DUM de de DUM (de)

But the actual rule with limericks, as with all poetry, is that you can get away with whatever you can get away with.

Let me see if I can remember one of mine:

There was a role model, Ulysses.
The suitors were after his missus.
He lied and he screwed;
he was violent and rude.
A morality tale is what thissis.

Line three has a truncated first foot (de DUM, rather than de de DUM) but no extrametrical syllable (unaccented syllable after the final stressed syllable). It has five syllables rather than six, and it's just fine.

Line five has the extrametrical syallable at the end, but it doesn't have truncated syllable at the beginning, so it winds up with ten syllables rather than nine. It's fine too.

I like to try to truncate the first foot of a line if the previous line has an extrametrical, but it's not worth much effort. And I've never heard of anyone else doing it.
 
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