The poet Raymond Garlick died almost to this day in 2011 but it is not because of this coincidental timing that I have picked him for this Tuesday’s Poetics – rather he picked me. Thumbing through my well-thumbed ex-library book of ‘New Poems’, 1954, these words tumbled out:
“In this sun-worn house of book and flowers
I open my eye at dawn of morning light
upon a carillon of castle towers
the cloisters of the sea where oysters share
the prayer of prawns in moist profundity
in undine cells under the water glare…”
(Poem from Manorbier)
I loved the poem for its imagery, its gentle tidal rhythm and also because I have recently been studying tercets or three line stanza poetry.
Garlick was an English dyed-in-Welsh-wool poet. Having taught and lived in Wales for much of his life he also became involved in Welsh political issues as his later, less melodic poems show. Here is his earlier Dyfed poem in triplet rhyme scheme
“I speak from Dyfed, Wales within Wales, world
within world, within whose hearts lay curled
the flower from which Four Branches were unfurled-
a green and mighty myth where princes pass
and galleys glide on a sea of glass,
and poetry the wind that stirs the grass.”
Aside from being dipped in that Celtic world of Wales where poetry does indeed seem to be ‘the wind that stirs the grass’, Garlick was a synaesthete, seeing letters and words in colour.
“when I first encountered the Rimbaud poem Voyelles, (where Rimbaud talked about the colours that he perceived the vowels to be) I realised that was the same as my experience except that his colours are different from mine” *
Thus Garlick had a multi-layered fascination with words which is evident in a poem he wrote as his young son Iestyn was coming to grips with language.
[Note the ABA; CDC; EFE etc rhyme sets, with 10 syllables per line [pentameter] as the poet was keen on form and structure].
Now just listen to this “Welsh-Speaking Sea”
“So Iestyn staggers down the shore of speech
and trips and suddenly sits and takes his rest,
playing with sounds like pebbles on a beach;
then clambers up and totters proudly on
towards the sonorous vowels of the sea,
and casts a net of consonants upon
the wondrous waters, angling for a word.
He waits and watches, drawing in his breath,
until the waves withdraw. Then like a bird
his less than two years’ tongue wings on its way
a singing syllable of sense, a sound
caught from the bounding chaos of the bay
Never before more splendidly was sung
This litany of language on his lips,
nor Welsh more lovely tumbled from a tongue.”
For today’s prompt the challenge is to choose AT LEAST THREE RHYME SETS which I’ve taken from the above. These are:-
–Write your poem as a rhyming tercet of 3 line stanzas though a composite 9 liner or more would do just as well
– Strict meter is not a requirement but for an extra challenge try pentameter (10 syllables to each line)
– You do NOT have to follow the ordered sequence of the above
– You may reverse the order of the 1st & 3rd words but otherwise keep the integrity of each rhyme set
Once you have published your poem, add it to the Linky widget and leave a comment below. Then go visiting, reading and sharing your thoughts with other contributors which is half the fun of our dVerse gatherings.