(Guest post by Tama Boyle.)
The following from 1999 is probably my first attempt at writing pastoral verse. It’s in the from of an eclogue or bucolic. It laments the succumbing of my once peaceful patch of earth to suburban soullessness, like every other paved-over, nondescript bit of sprawl. Yes, that’s right… I remember when all this was trees. It seems to be called “Part One: An Alfriston Eclogue” To tell you the truth, I couldn’t say exactly what this is part one of. Surely it can’t been part of a bigger work. In these eight lines I’ve kind of exhausted all the useful material there was. Then again, I suppose I could’ve mentioned the ducks.
Part One: An Alfriston Eclogue
Once there ancient trees rose tall
And cataracts came crashing down.
Windswept tors, sans verdant pall,
And fetid ponds the outcrop crown.
Daily birdsong rived the dell
And lowing brutes did burdens cry.
Churning turf, those burning, fell
And belching beasts corrupt the sky.
Very Blakean, if I do say so myself. Although, I should be so lucky to have it set to music by Hubert Parry.
Note also that the word fell in line 7 is being used adjectivally, i.e. the beasts which churn turf and corrupt the sky with their belching are burning and fell. It should suffice to mention the enjambment there to make it clear. However, reading it as the action of some people who are on fire falling over is much more amusing.
From people falling over to people falling over on top of other people repeatedly. Here are two more examples of the sextilla form as demonstrated on State Highway One last week. Again, they come courtesy of the eminent Mongoloid poetaster Sextilla the Hun.
Sextilla XLIII: On Gargantua
Regard this mighty throbbing shaft
And welcome its immensity
Into that place you erstwhile laughed
That now is used most filthily
Fear not in filthy dreams to wallowâ€”
What dreams may come have come to swallow
Gargantua et Pantagruel: ayant foutu, ils mangent le petit dÃ©jeuner
Sextilla XLIV: And Pantagruel
And on the matter last discussed
I have yet more I must impartâ€”
While in your maw you take the thrust
Of Great Sextilla‘s lusty dartâ€”
In gratitude for service rendered
Is reciprocity engendered
And isn’t that a lovely thought? You give a little, you take a little… No doubt we can look forward to that reciprocal verse at some later date. But now for a haiku. This example entitled “Numbers” is one which, for a while, I have rendered thus:
I can count to six
One, two three, four, five, six, sevâ€”
Oops! I meant seven
The earliest example comes from 22 April 2004. And thus it runs:
I can count to five
One, two three, four, five, sixâ€”Oops!
I guess I meant six
The shame I feel at misremembering my own work is unbounded. I am doubly disappointed, though, that I can’t remember whom I hated so at the time to have written, “Somebody whom I particularly dislike dislikes haiku; he is, therefore, my Muse. He does, however, like secondhand and vintage clothing; he is also, therefore, my Museum. My recent compositions have brought me great amusement and I grow fonder of the form, more skilled in its construction.”
I’ll leave that last bit up to your judgment.