A drizzle in downtown Duenweg is something
Like my wife waking and the water of her shower
Misting me while I make my chin
Clean with the cutting. The crisp mist
Is a walk by a wayward water fountain
Or a splash pad. Spread the mist
Over the evening and aim it at me
And my head for an hour? The hell of The Mist
Is in taking its time and turning her loose
With a hose in hand. The Holy Lady
Of the mist maybe makes light of
Freezing her folk — I found Niagra
Dipped and deafened in the dark of wax
And a yellowed ice. A yard in the mist
Is a play date. Place it over
The plodding pace of Park Slope
Or the Manhattan miles or make Brooklyn
Meander aimless under the years
Of her mistings and maybe she’ll make the nightly
News in drowning our novelties slowly.
. . .
:: 58 poems ::
• written at 29 years •
This year, for the 58 @ 29, I plan to focus on alliterative meter. It’s the meter used by Middle English and Old English poets as well as Latin and Greek poets. Basically all epic poets use some form of alliterative meter and it hasn’t been used in English for a thousand years. I will be pulling from the rules offered in Lewis’ article on The Alliterative Meter:
In the general reaction which has set in against the long reign of foreign, syllabic meters in English, it is a little remarkable that few have yet suggested a return to our own ancient system, the alliterative line…. Alliteration is no more the whole secret of this verse than rhyme is the whole secret of syllabic verse. It has, in addition, a metrical structure, which could stand alone, and which would then be to this system as blank verse is the syllabic….
A few successful specimens of alliterative meter would be an excellent answer to the type of critic (by no means extinct) who accuses the moderns of choosing vers libre because they are not men enough for meter. For if syllabic verse is like carving in wood and verse libre like working with a brush, alliterative meter is like carving in granite.
“Vers Libre” for those who don’t know is Latin for “free verse.” Lewis has, ultimately, offered for my poetry just the kind of reaction I prefer in all of my life: a reaction that is, deep down, orthodoxy. A reaction to dead leaves as radical as the radish itself: radical because it is the living root of the thing.
Here is the table of contents for my 58 attempts over the next year. After the monogram, I’m including a quote from Chesterton’s An Apology for Buffoons because it defends proper use of alliteration in English: