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October 12, 2007

Poetry: Wealth

I wrote this for Intro to Creative Writing. The criteria was, to my understanding, to take apart a word and make a poem about it (examples given included the interaction of the letters in form of a narrative or the use of the word as a mnemonic for something else). I went a bit crazy with this one.

Inspirations: though it turned out that way unconsciously, I would say there's a Tim Burton-esque feel to this one. Mr Jimmy Kent is also an inspiration: his 27 stanza poem of complex structure from last week roused a desire to match the challenge (although I'm not sure I matched the poem in the magnitude or complexity). If anyone needs a friendly creative rival, Jimmy is up at the top and I'm pleased to work in the same class as him.

Wealth, from its conception to realisation, was always a quest poem for me. I wanted to contrast the light poetry of before with something darker. However, realism has yet to make an appearance in my blog (note talking snakes and death gods). I wanted to rhyme again this time: although it is a bad habit, not every poem can be freeform prose. I feel the rhyme gives a kick or shove to the poem. Also, I chose the rhythm that seemed most natural to me. It feels like a folk-tale kind of structure to lay under the work, and I like the effect.

Enjoy the work. And for those who are curious about the title, consider why Hades is also called 'Pluton'.


The poet sought to deconstruct

The construct that is DEATH,

Which men, for years

(So it appears)

Struggle with each breath.

The poet sought the means to start,

Beginning with the end,

And so he strove

To that fell grove

Where serpent called us ‘friend’.

A THlivering and THlimy knave

Friend THerpent waTH to be.

The poet found

The wyrm waTH wound

Around the fatal tree.

‘Hail, thief,’ said our poet then,

‘Progenitor, oh why?

Why did you seek

To make the meek

And humble men to die?’

‘Oh, poet,’ said he in forkèd tongue,

‘I’ll say to you, my second.

Beyond the grasp

And angel’s clasp

Was death to you pre-reckoned.’

‘When I had hands and limbs to spare

On work and idle game,

The tree was made

And there displayed

By God before I came.’

‘Who did make the bough bear fruit,

That fruitless fate would store?

Who engendered

That which ended

All men in that core?’

And in this witty, pretty talk,

The serpent smirked and smiled.

The poet squirmed:

‘This evil wyrm’d

Have me most beguiled!’

‘Fine, wyrm, that you did not create

Hard death, I’ll not deny.

But with a rhyme,

You’ll not hide crime.

You poisoned us all. Why?’

Said serpent, ‘I shan’t lie to you,

I did it for a lark!

Why should men savour

All of God’s favour,

With all born from his spark?’

‘We share Prometheus’s flame,

And the kick galvanic

That’s beyond the ken

Of mortal men

And infernal mechanic.’

‘Yet God gave you pastoral joy

That man would never strive,

But us “animals”

Were peripherals

That fought to stay alive.’

‘We had love – a love of sorts –

Like you, and we had ire,

And in our toil

Upon the soil

We, alone, perspire.’

‘If you could feel the hate consume,

The burning, boiling wrath,

Then you, my friend,

Would God contend

Upon the curling path.’

‘But mine is not the crime, you see,

No serpent made “contrite”.

I merely offered

Into man’s coffer

Fruit, but mankind had to bite!’

‘I’ve told my tale, enough, I say!

I’m punished but I have a voice.

To crawl before men?!

I’d do it again,

To see men fall. You had a choice.’

The answer wrecked the poet’s skull

And hands in hair became a rake.

Solution bereft,

He turned and left

The most subtle brother snake.

And so the poet searched the world

For the D, the A and E.

He walked for days

`Neath the sun’s rays

Till the twins he came to see.

Their skin was pale as diamond dust,

Their clothes a tapestry,

Their voices soft,

Their swords aloft,

Phantom shinigami!

And in their eyes, a greyness,

That unfaceable cold.

A hissing churl,

A virgin girl

Just four centuries old.

The poet asked if DEATH could die,

Or the dead gain second birth.

(EE-Ay) said he,

(EE-Ah-DA) she,

And the churl cried out in mirth.

‘There are no routes for runaways,

Nor bargains to be made,

No half or whole,

Just soul for soul,

And we are always paid.’

Inflated with all pompous joy,

Was the sanguine psychopomp.

For his despair,

The poet would swear

He’d landed in a swamp.

And yet he could not now lose hope,

So he made one request:

Of the maid and the squire

He asked for their sire

And the nature of his address.

Then, the virgin maid did speak,

‘Our father, he is no more.

He unburdened himself

Of his scythe on a shelf,

And walks on a distant shore.’

‘And if he lived? No answer would

Come shield you from the dead.

You must, in turn,

New humbleness learn

And live true life instead.’

The poet thanked them for their time,

Yet heeded not advice.

He searched for D

Most steadfastly:

The greatest charm came thrice.

He worked for years and decades past,

And still no cure was reared.

The stanzas cried,

And they denied

That lifelessness appeared.

Although we hoped he’d find the cure,

We never thought he would.

We’re not surprised:

We realised

That we’d all D-



It's a cheery one, that.

Signing off.

October 07, 2007

Poetic Discovery!

Hi, people who read my blog,

As part of the creative writing module, we were given the interesting task of creating a new writing style and defining the history of the style. Unfortunately, I'm limited in my creativity of new styles in my general ignorance of the older forms of poetry and personal preference towards modern poetry which does not focus on rhyming (although rhyming is good, I find it blocks some of my immediacy in on-the-spot writing).

So I started searching for examples of older poetry to aid the creative juices. That was when I stumbled upon pyrametric form, an old form that had gone out of practice but one that I thought was worth investigating.

If found this brief history of the pyrametric form on the internet. Notes and links to this page will be added later.

  The pyrametric form can be traced back to Egypt between 2nd and 1st BCE before its European migration. Initially, it resulted as a form of teaching aid. Similar to the building blocks with numbers and letters which are given to children to learn, those who were apprenticed as scribes would experiment with blocks inscribed with hieroglyphs. To help along the learning process, letters and words were assembled in sets of syllables sequentially increasing in size for each layer of blocks, creating a pyramid of words. As patterns emerged for teaching in this form, artistic expression also emerged in pyrametric. However, few examples remain of the authentic pyrametric.

The original pyrametric form can be described quite simply in this manner: the line number of a stanza determines the number of syllables within the line. Therefore the first line would have one, the second two, the third three, and so on.

Before it spread to Europe, pyrametric form was unrestricted in size: the stanzas would grow to unwieldy sizes, with 24 line stanzas stretching the limits of the form. This is where the sexism, or six line form, appeared. Why the current form is known as pyrametric sexism appears to be an amalgamation of several words, including ‘seis’, the Spanish for six, and sextet among others. Another reason for the name sexism may have arisen from the abuse of the sixth line trope. In practice, poets often used the sixth and longest line to express sentiments and build a doubling of images. However, many parodied this trend through base terms, degenerating into innuendo and double entendre of a sexual nature. Some believe that this lead to the ‘sexism’ moniker that has stuck until the present day.

The historian / critic was cited as being Harold Osmond Axmaker. I haven't found any of his previous work as of yet, but I am still searching.

I have included an example of my own experiment in pyrametric form. Although it is crude, I hope to achieve the greatness of the other pyrametric poets who came before.

Spring Powered Interrogation




Around the core.

The name is ‘daisy

And men give women one.


You are

The one in

Deepest trouble

For the crimes you have

Done before the cock rose.


How did

You feign the

Ignorance of

Spring within the fields

Where men water bushes.


You have

No answer.

I swear you shall

Be accounted for

Affairs of country maids.


Don’t you

Confine your

Mischief to the

Honey bees’ toil. For the

Queen they will work it.



Is passed on

You, criminal.

Before the dawn breaks,

The reaper cuts you short.

I hope you liked that poem. It's just a shame that I still have to find a style to invent for Wednesday. Any tips would be welcome.

Signing out.

October 04, 2007

Poetry: Tombs

When I went to Cyprus on holiday, to 'relax' as put by my family (though we did little of that, thinking about it), we stayed in Pafos and visited a few of the local ruins. This is a poem I wrote when visiting the Tomb of the Kings. I'm not much of a ruin / museum person, but this, combined with several mosaics of Greek mythology seen in said ruins inspired me. It helps that I have done Epic Tradition last year: this is what I really drew on for this poem, as you can probably tell. So without further ado...


In the dust of Pafos

(womb of the navel of the world)

Lies the Tomb of Kings.

But it is the tomb of kings

In only its name.

In these houses for the dead

No Atreides laid himself to rest.

No Agamemnon slept here

Wrapped in regal webbing.

The blood of the kin of Oedipus

Ran not here in Pafos.

Yet these were noble men that lived.

Not kings of men that died

In a golden age of spears and swords

But men who lived, for a time.

No heroes lifting giant boulders

But the several men who could lift it together.

These were the men who were

Stoned in death.

Now here we walk:

Yellow stalks dot the wayside,

Green leaves huddle in clefts,

Darker plants net the rocks

Beneath the feet of tourists.

Between the sand and stone

And walls made before we came,

We descend.

Standing, leaning on pillars

For support, we look on family chambers

Which are empty.

They are not here.

All that is left of noble men,

Their wives and children,

Are the doors,

The steps,

The walls

And dust.

Poetry: Spam Stirfry

I wrote this as part of an exercise in the first Introduction to Creative Writing workshop.

The rules for those who are interested:

  • Long and short as desired
  • 10 syllables a line
  • Each line contains a word from 'caucasian refurbishment'
  • First word of each line must be I, you, he, she, they or we
  • Exception is the last line

Enjoy liberally.

Spam Stirfry

You, demigod, would you take a message

We have written to Milan. It’s convex,

They are sorry about that bong. Wait! Hey

You, it’s going to Alaska stop stop

I stop you leaving, you cipher pervert,

You get back here to the dress rehearsal.

We will take back our letter, convex man,

We will drown you in the cottage bathhouse,

We will. Or blowfish shall think when really

I will arrest you for the queen diabetic.

I mean the dastard beams are kinda good,

We would agree, aplomb, and so perforce

You would mount the altar of the crime scene,

And for that dubious crime, you’d detonate.

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