|954 / 1000|
- May 1, 2007 l. 1-38: The Decision; A Really Cheesy Start; Discretion Better Part of Valor; Length of Task; Blank Verse Role Models
- May 2, 2007 l. 39-66: On Starting and Stopping IP; Seeing the Wind or Reader Deficiencies; More Blank Verse Role Models
- May 3, 2007 l. 67-91: Dartmoor
- May 4, 2007 l. 92-115: The Baobab
- May 5, 2007 l. 116-159: The Candelaria; Doppler
- May 6, 2007 l. 160-174: Sandstorm
- May 7, 2007 l. 175-190: This House
- May 8, 2007 l. 176-204: The Boy in the Blue Ridge Mountains
- May 10, 2007 l. 205-222: The Mountains at Hatta
- May 11, 2007 l. 223-230: Why You Are Like the Dunes
- May 12, 2007 l. 231-252: July in Kansas; Appalachian Bailiff
- May 15, 2007 l. 253-277: The Story of Kintu 1: The First Man on Earth
- May 17, 2007 l. 279-300: The Story of Kintu 2: Playground of the Children of God
- May 25, 2007 l. 301-350: The Story of Kintu 3: Nambi
- June 5, 2007 l. 351-400: The Story of Kintu 4: Gulu Gives Permission
- June 12, 2007 l. 401-427: Way Cockaigne
- June 26, 2007 l. 428-476: The Story of Kintu 5: Nambi Descends
- November 22, 2007 l. 477-505: The Story of Kintu 5: Nambi Descends and The Story of Kintu 6: Life on Earth
- December 2, 2007 l. 506-541: The Story of Kintu 6: Life on Earth and The Story of Kintu 7: Walumbe Wakened
- December 7, 2007 l. 542-600: The Story of Kintu 8: Death on Earth
- December 23, 2007 l. 601-634: The Story of Kintu 8: Death on Earth
- February 5, 2008 l. 635-700: The Story of Kintu 9: Gulu Sends Help
- February 9, 2008 l. 701-808: The Story of Kintu 10: The Caves at Ttanda
- February 10, 2008 l. 809-848: The Story of Kintu 10: The Caves at Ttanda; and The Story of Kintu 11: Epilogue
- January 8, 2009 l. 849-909: Fantasy in Bengal
- May 5, 2009 l. 910-954: the novice
What is BV 1000?
May 1, 2007
I challenged myself to do this because I’m sick and tired of shying away from form and freezing up at the thought of meter and rhyme. I’m starting with the basics and plan to write 1,000 lines of blank verse between now and whenever I finish writing them.
Given current personal total halting lameness with IP, I thought it would be better for you and for me if I made the project a separate standing page (this one). Although I did consider blogging altogether in IP. For a very few minutes.
Who knows? I might develop such a flair
I end up blogging wholly in IP!
Anyhow, I hope to work in strictish IP with only standard substitutions, which in my case means only the occasional trochee or double iamb. Anapests seem frankly explosive and rather dangerous to me at the moment. Right up there with headless iambs and tail-less trochees.
The theory is that this project will start out cheesily (as we see it has) and get better as it goes along. That the later dates will be more worth reading than the earlier dates. We’ll see.
Comments/critiques/lethal put-downs all most welcome, all the time.
Some helpful basic links, courtesy PFFA:
- Normative Meter, Two-Syllable Feet and Three-Syllable Feet
- Handy Dandy Vest Pocket Guide to Iambic Pentameter
- Standard Substitutions in Strict Iambic Pentameter
1. OK, I’ve made a new decision, guys,
2. which is to write at least a thousand lines
3. using blank verse: I’ll make my points in just
4. pentameter (iambic, that would be).
5. No rhyming, as I don’t think that would last
6. and would be just too painful for us all.
A Really Cheesy Start
7. I’m not hoping for lofty words or thoughts
8. or even striking language fit for poems,
9. I just want some facility with it.
10. IP, that is. Already it is hard
11. to keep a thought connected to the words
12. I write – the words go charging on ahead
13. and leave what thought there is all choking in the
14. dust. Watch that thought! It shakes its fist and shouts
15. at those rude words – so badly raised, so coarse
16. and lacking in all basic politesse!
Discretion Better Part of Valor
17. At first I thought I might do this as posts
18. (blog posts, that is) but when I saw how hard
19. it is to link my words to meaty thought,
20. it seemed wiser to make a standing page
21. apart from daily rantings on the blog
22. to save my sanity (and yes, yours too).
Length of Task
23. Just working out how long this task will take:
24. a thousand lines at twenty lines a day
25. will take me fifty days; while fifty lines
26. a day will only take me twenty days.
Blank Verse Role Models
27. One fear obtrudes in matters of blank verse:
28. will one who wants to read the best be doomed
29. to wade through ancient dramas and travails
30. of Milton, Marlowe, Shakespeare and the rest!?
31. Not so! Wallace Stevens is there
32. with Sunday Morning: probing doubt, belief
33. and sacrifice in verse completely blank;
34. there is Hart Crane who writes of Brooklyn Bridge,
35. of steel and girders and of the divine;
36. while Nemerov is cool in his Deep Woods.
37. That’s thirty-seven lines we’ve got so far
38. and this makes thirty-eight – I’m out of here.
On Starting and Stopping IP
39. It’s hard to start the IP beat again
40. once turned off in one’s head for several hours.
41. The best way seems to be a reading bout –
42. some lines from Nemerov or from Hart Crane.
43. And once it starts, it rolls itself along –
44. you find yourself instructing staff and kids
45. to draft a memo to Procurement now
46. or take those soldiers off my brand-new couch!
47. The boss came in and told me I must write
48. a new report on programming this year:
49. No problem, boss, I’ll do it right away,
50. I said, before I thought. How cool is that!
Seeing the Wind or Reader Deficiencies
51. How do you see the wind? Is it purple
52. or spotted? Do you think it is a girl?
53. A man? Or is it simply something in
54. the air? It seems to me that poets all
55. have just one quest: they must describe the wind.
56. And readers too have one main quest: they must
57. discover how each poet sees the wind.
58. But many readers get impatient: What?!
59. He claims the wind’s all different kinds of feather
60. when we all know it’s different kinds of silk!
More Blank Verse Role Models
61. For thoughts of Coleridge on his baby son
62. try Frost at Midnight; Tennyson writes long
63. in Ulysses of aging hero’s pride
64. and Frost talks neighbors in his Mending Wall
65. while Browning tells of love and talent lost
66. in Andrea del Sarto’s mournful lines.
67. Last night I dreamt again of Dartmoor mist
68. which falls on you from blueness, sun and light
69. like that. You stumble forward, blind, hands out –
70. it hopes your booted foot will slip, it hopes
71. this happens at the lip of Fox Tor Mire,
72. the treacherous bed of bright green moss afloat
73. on trapped groundwater. Dartmoor natives tell
74. of Dewer: murderous myth, savage huntsman
75. who leads red-eyed Whist Hounds that sleep in eerie
76. Wistman’s Wood – gnarled ghostly oaks and rocks
77. all bound with moss – by day, bound forth to wreak
78. rank fear on country folk at night. And then
79. there is the greenness of the River Dart
80. fast-flowing bordered green in fern and set
81. with cut-glass dragonfly and kingfishers
82. on fire and once the coiling oily magic
83. brown of otter – otter! – in the Dart.
84. What can I tell you of the open moor
85. all bleak and silver, slicing wind and rain;
86. all rife with color in the sun – bright gorse,
87. dream yellow; purple heather; skylark song.
88. The granite bones of Dartmoor sing a song,
89. a grating song of buzzards, sheep and pony;
90. of tor and traitorous mire and myriad stars.
91. And I, I dreamt again of Dartmoor mist.
92. – 115. April 2009 – Removed for use elsewhere in revised (non-BV) form.
116. – 152. 22 Jan 2008: Accepted for publication in revised (non-BV!) form.
153. The mother bear lopes round the wood and round
154. again. She snuffs the air. Her thudding feet
155. are muffled yet they shake the wood, the world.
156. The center of the wood bears witness to
157. a frenzied patter: creatures small and blind
158. wait pulsing in the dark. The mother bear
159. lopes round the wood and round the wood again.
160. It flew in hard one afternoon on wind
161. from Saudi Arabia. Worst sandstorm
162. in years, the Met guys said. The air turned beige,
163. turned thick as resin, streetlights were ablaze
164. at three. The crazy sand flew curving, stinging,
165. the date palms strained way back, their green hair streamed
166. straight out behind. Snake-black banshees, the power
167. lines shrieked and people melted from the streets
168. except one bowed slow-motion man, his thobe
169. fitfully pregnant with that kicking wind.
170. Fences and scaffolds folded into dust;
171. flights halted; frowning port officials said
172. that fishermen should not venture to sea.
173. A fine dust seeped into the houses, sullied
174. the small, the fresh, the perishable things.
175. This house is small and built on just one floor,
176. of wood. Its windows have mahogany
177. frames wide enough for all of dawn
178. and most of one full moon,
………………………………………..the windows of
179. the bedroom funnel in the drunken scent
180. gardenias emit at twilight, and orange
181. candles on danta wood pick out the shades
182. of midnight-purple in the African
183. violets upon the window sill.
184. have been arranged to tempt the breeze, which wanders
185. absently from room to room, now touching
186. your cheek, now rustling pages in your book
187. or bringing you soft croons from three white doves
188. high in the camphor tree.
………………………………………There is no moon
189. tonight; the crickets’ song is loud.
190. you hear me right? This house is not for sale.
The Boy in the Blue Ridge Mountains
191. A small boy and his father climb the mountain
192. in spring, through knife-sharp green, through oak, dogwood
193. and hemlock forest, up to Mary’s Rock.
194. His treble voice floats down the path all mixed
195. with Carolina chickadee, hooded
196. warbler and facts of his boy life: he’s six
197. and one quarter, that orange slab of shelf
198. fungus is neat!If mom were still alive
199. she’d love those yellow buds, she’d put a bunch
200. in her blue vase next to her bed.
201. the rocky trail to the granite summit
202. holding his father’s hand. His small conquering
203. self struts so dazzling on the Rock – framed by
204. the sky or framing it, I cannot tell.
The Mountains at Hatta
205. The Hatta mountains lie beyond the dunes.
206. For miles, straight desert miles, the road glides past
207. the round red-gold, the slipping beauty of
208. the sands.
…………………..Your eyelids on fire, you start to doze;
209. from nowhere mountains rear at you, laid on
211. in oil – thick grays, cool blacks, in jagged rows.
211. A veil of mist lies light, lies heavy, makes
212. softness of this angled muteness.
213. comes to the house of Abdelnour. He owns
214. a whole oasis at the foot of Hatta’s
215. mountains. White jasmine trails thick in his garden
216. and small birds bicker in the date palms, thread
217. the eucalyptus. Peacocks cry, a mu’ethin
218. calls, a second calls, they wake echoes
219. of prayer in the valley, through the mountains.
220. come on and Abdelnour serves hump of young
221. camel in spoonfuls: You honor our house.
222. You say: Oh no, the honor is all ours.
why you are like the dunes
223. the dunes in the evening sun are like your face
224. when you sleep, you smooth-cheeked child of the desert wind
225. when evening moves gold and hushed over you, she stoops
226. to brush the hair off the tender planes of your temples
227. she holds a lamp so low to her skirts it seems
228. from the arc it casts, and the glow, that your dreaming face
229. is sending flame-bearing genii forth to inform
230. all the dark all the cold of the starless desert night
July in Kansas
231. They drove for miles into wind and afternoon sun
232. past Topeka and Salina, to where
233. the land is known by section, to the huge
234. corner of Road 23 and Avenue H.
235. She stands alone in his photo in her shorts
236. her black dyed T-shirt whipping in hot wind
237. behind her, a whistling kingdom of flat earth;
238. above her, splays of fine white cloud on blue;
239. to her left, a straight dirt road heads for the skyline.
240. He took the picture hearing prairie notes
241. of loneliness but not the siren soil
242. of Kansas – that he did not hear. It sang
243. the promise of a warm brown place the shape
244. of her, where she might snuggle in silence, alone.
245. Your booted feet work hard to learn the feel
246. of granite mountain bones and the wind inspects
247. its domain, trailing through hillside forest wearing
248. a long silk scarf: here, parting undergrowth;
249. there, picking gently through high oak, high fir.
250. A cloud accosts you wearing thick gray felt,
251. it bullies you on the path until striding
252. down the path comes the morning wind in bells.
The Story of Kintu
I: The First Man on Earth
l. 253 – l. 277 – Removed for editing.
II: Playground of the Children of God
l. 278 – l. 301 – Removed for editing.
1. 302 – l. 350 – Removed for editing.
IV. Gulu Gives Permission
l. 351 – l. 400 – Removed for editing.
401. The short road to his narrow burdened fields
402. lies through the Way Cockaigne. When press of time
403. and money drive Bob Gray, reluctant, through
404. that passage – green and willow-ruled – thin wisps
405. of horror stick to his hair when he bursts out
406. wide-eyed and panting on the other side.
407. The village children whoop when they descend
408. upon the Way, they hurl themselves inside
409. emerge all mud-tattooed at dusk, a tribe
410. glowing with dreams, hands full with pearl-sheened stones,
411. with peacock feathers and brown blinking toads.
412. When you and I first wandered in, a fat
413. slow river ambled through the Way. Spread-eagled,
414. near boneless in our punt, we steeped ourselves
415. in sun and river music: eggs with Fumé
416. Blanc for you, fig almond cake and sweet
417. Riesling for me.
………………………..…..We came again and saw
418. our river starved and thinned. A blight had dropped
419. upon the berries, nuts and leaves of Way
420. Cockaigne. Sharp bog sprites pinched at us, the growl
421. we knew would pounce one day tracked us in stealth
422. behind the blasted trees.
…………………………….…..…..But now: bright waves
423. of autumn crocus on our path, your wheezing
424. laughter on this bench of seasoned oak;
425. our fat basket of ale and ploughman’s lunch.
426. Suffused in autumn sun and hand in hand
427. we stroll back into Way Cockaigne.
V. Nambi Descends
l. 428 – l. 476. – Removed for editing.
l. 477- l. 505 – Removed for editing.
VI. Life on Earth
l. 506 – l. 527 – Removed for editing.
VII. Walumbe Wakened
l. 528 – l. 541 – Removed for editing.
VIII. Death on Earth
l. 542 – l. 600 -Removed for editing.
l. 601 – l. 634 – Removed for editing.
IX. Gulu Sends Help
l. 635 – l. 701 – Removed for editing.
X. The Caves at Ttanda
l. 702 – l. 808 – Removed for editing
l. 809 – l. 819 – Removed for editing.
l. 820 – l. 848 – Removed for editing.
849. Wake me, then, from sleep among the shrimp pools
850. of Khulna, from mirrors at midnight and blueness in dark.
851. I rise in mist and shed my sleeping mat.
852. The swelling moon will bless the steps I take
853. to reach the bamboo edge that marks the end
854. of my domain. A platform, square, of bound
855. bamboo and reeds, a hut of thatch on stilts
856. above the glass of pools in jet and silver
857. that lie beneath my sleep and all around,
858. in smooth rectangle – one, and then the next
859. and then the next. Each pool is like a door.
860. In curves, I shy the pebbles of Khulna against
861. their promise, as oval prayers in gleaming gray
862. and white, splintering plainchant, songs arrested,
863. unbelieving. Then a jackal barks;
864. the nightjar calls
…………………………….and, freed, I stride away
865. to the wildness of the Sundarban bee, the black
866. warm dark of Sundarban honey, the poem and magic
867. of mangrove forest and hunters of mangrove honey.
868. I swarm within the naked roots of the mangrove
869. and hear the Bengal tiger’s hunger call.
870. I feel the crash and blaze of tiger’s rage
871. on me, who am stranger and tall, and young, and soft.
872. The heat of blood runs down my back and thighs
873. but now I walk in Rajshahi, drugged deep
874. inside the song of the rice fields, the luminous song
875. of the rice fields: all green, all gold and pain beyond voice
876. – as the jade dark, the black shade, of the Chandipur mango groves.
877. A girl in orange sari calls me but
878. I am listening to the banyan, for it breaks
879. my heart, the banyan, growing old in thick
880. high grace on the banks of the Padma, it grips
881. the soil of Rajshahi, the banyan holds
882. the soil tight against the swirl the gray-brown
883. leak of monsoon floods.
…………………………………..And there you are
884. in the lemon groves of Srimongol, trailing among
885. the jackfruit trees, your hands all bleeding and cut
886. on jagged pineapple leaves you know not how
887. to handle. Sit with me in Sylhet’s morning mist
888. and watch me peel the pineapple, flavor it
889. with lemon and papaya, brew for you
890. a delicate tea whose scented steam will rise
891. before your face which is calm and fresh and sweet
892. just like the hills of Burma lying in blueness
893. across the singing waters of the river
894. Naf. I am alone again, and now
895. I pace the hills of Rangamati, steep,
896. and bristling with the brightest greens against
897. the diamond air. Elephants roam these hills
898. feasting on the wild banana tree.
899. My shoulder brushes, tingling, the shoulder
900. of a tusker melting through the forest of teak
901. and when I reach the road to Chittagong
902. I find my skin is branded with the mark
903. of elephant.
……………………..In sleep, I drift atop
904. a bamboo raft upon the water of
905. a deep green pool all ringed about with betel
906. palms and warbler song, until the ship
907. casts off – an ocean-going vessel now –
908. across the waters of the Bay they call
l. 910 – 954 – Removed for editing.