Hello everyone! We have guest host for today’s Poetics – Lucy!
“So I went on softly from the glade,
And left her behind me throwing her shade,
As she were indeed an apparition—
My head unturned lest my dream should fade.”
—“The Shadow on the Stone” by Thomas Hardy.
Hello dVerse poets… Heeeeere’s Lucy!
Yes. That was a reference to Lucille Ball.
I’m your guest host for today’s Tuesday Poetics, and I’m so glad to be here.
It seems such an odd transition in the seasons, don’t you think? Especially these days. From summer to the crisp autumn, inviting us to the tint of October with carved pumpkins, skulls and chocolate—there’s not that much time to process the gothic underlying theme that our dear October tessellates for us.
This would include to the most perceptive eye, literature and branching from literature, poetry.
Dark and daunting themes, grief, reflection, horror tales and scares. There are memories associated with October, as well with costume expectations and trick or treaters to look forward to for each year. I for one will be scaring children with an evil Monopoly guy mask.
Okay, no, I’m not that cruel.
But, when we think of October, there are different contexts to consider, such as how dark and dreary the month is. We can celebrate the glory of dark themes and imagery in poetry as October is one of the best times to do so. It allows an essence of life into the fog, a river to part with grief, and to stumble upon an apparition by the trees.
Was that last part too specific? You bet. In Thomas Hardy’s poem, “The Shadow on the Stone,” it communicates these themes of what October engenders: death, grief, disillusionment, and most importantly, wraith imagery (with Hardy’s poem, as well a theme to not look back into the past of what once was).
I was captivated by this piece, along with Edgar Allan Poe’s ballad, “To Ulalume.”
“The skies they were ashen and sober;
The leaves they were crispéd and sere—
The leaves they were withering and sere;
It was night in the lonesome October…”
Edgar Allan Poe, overall, describes the longing of a deceased love but with the desire of not wanting to look back; instead he wants to indulge in temptation. He does not, in the end. This one was written the same year his wife, Virginia, died.
Both poems I’ve mentioned have themes of not wanting to look back. Poe does look back, at one point, as he finds himself at his beloved’s grave. Hardy does not as he refuses to turn his head to see what could be the apparition of his deceased wife; if he turns his head, it destroys the dream that she could be there when she might not be at all.
Both poems have strong notions of grief, all relative to the theme of October. From October, we are currently from the former shift of life to death.
And that is what we are going to write about for our poetics today.
We will write a poem about the transient notion of life to death, or topics germane to the theme. With a twist.
We are going to write a ballad.
Ballads typically consist of four-line quatrains with a rhyme scheme in either ABABBCBC form or another alternate of that form such as ABCB or ABAB.
The form is up to you, ultimately, along with how many stanzas you use.
Now as for syllables… Let’s pretend they don’t exist here for this ballad prompt. I don’t want this one to be too limiting to write for. So… Syllables? What are those? Never heard of them.
This will/can include dark, gothic themes and imagery as it pertains to the theme. It’s October and we’re looking for some dark poetry, publies.
Remember to link up with Mr. Linky below. Don’t forget to visit our fellow poets and writers to read and comment on their work.
And for more to join in on the fun, remember to link back to dVerse so others can participate! The more, the merrier.
Oh, the fun we’re going to have…
Note: The title is from You Want It Darker, from Leonard Cohen.
Author bio: I have been writing poetry consistently since early 2017 and I am constantly inspired by poets like Sylvia Plath, Robert Frost, E.E. Cummings, Ted Hughes, and Leonard Cohen. I have publications that appear in Variant Literature Magazine, Visual Verse Anthology, the Scarlet Leaf Review, and Ephemeral Elegies among others that are listed under my main pseudonym Ellie Onka. In my free time, I enjoy practicing music.