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Poems, doggerel and other literary abuses.

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"I blog, therefore I am". Clearly not true, or I wouldn't exist except every now and then.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Line Acrostic: My Own Verse Form

I once invented a form of verse. I think. Or rather, so I must conclude. Because no one has ever heard of it, and I can't find the book in which I thought I read about it. Nor can I find any trace of the poem written in that form which was presented as an example in that book.

So... maybe I imagined it. Maybe I dreamt it. Maybe it's slippage. I don't know.

So here I'm going to stake my claim to it, and even give it a name. And if someone wants to tell me that there's already a name for it, I'll be happy to know it and give up my claim.

It's relatively simple, actually, and similar, in a way to villanelles and rondels. I think. It consists of five quatrains. The fifth quatrain is composed of the first line of the first quatrain, the second line of the second quatrain, the third line of the third quatrain, and the fourth line of the fourth quatrain.

That's why I call it a Line Acrostic, because it works like an acrostic, only made up of lines of verse, rather than letters.

The ones that I've written have an ABCB pattern of rhyme in each quatrain, including the fifth one, but I don't see that as a requirement of the form. They're also all in iambic septameter, but that's just the rhythm that comes naturally to me.

Here's an example that I actually have up on my website. It was the first one I ever wrote, and definitely not the best.

The Quality of Kindness

The quality of kindness doesn't care about tomorrow
Avoiding hurtful feelings for the moment is its goal
The cruelest cuts are those you know are meant to spare your feelings
For anger'd be ungrateful, so it festers in your soul.

Just think how things would be if people said what needed saying
The quality of mercy doesn't worry 'bout today
It understands that painful truths are better in the long run
That raising hopes to let them fall drives innocence away.

The history of man is full of misery inflicted
By people preaching kindness as they teach the world to lie
For kindness makes you feel good; you don't have to see the sorrow
Or looks of shocked betrayal when illusions finally die.

Oh, no one with a heart would want to be the cause of sadness
But there are times when sadness is the price we have to pay
To cleanly cut, and then move on; to learn from what has happened
It's harder to be merciful, but it's the better way.

The quality of kindness doesn't care about tomorrow
The quality of mercy doesn't worry 'bout today
For kindness makes you feel good; you don't have to see the sorrow
It's harder to be merciful, but it's the better way.

© 1997 by Lisa

2 Comments:

Anonymous jon baker said...

It seems like a reversal of whatever Hebrew form might "ein k'erkecha" might be. First four short lines, then, expansions of each line. Ein k'erkecha, v'ein zulatecha, efes biltecha, umi domeh lach, ein k'erkecha H' elokeinu ba'olam hazeh...

2:47 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Interesting. That's a good comparison. It's a little different, in the sense that it's more like a traditional acrostic, with the first line of each stanza making up the collected stanza, while mine is the first line of the first stanza, second of the second, and so on.

It's like an acrostic that's read on the diagonal. Or something. <grin>

11:41 AM  

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