Z for Zeno #NaPoWriMo2021

Zeno is a recently invented form created by J. Patrick Lewis, and is inspired by the mathematical “hailstone sequence”. It is a 10-line verse form with a varying syllable count of 8,4,2,1,4,2,1,4,2,1. The rhyme scheme followed here is xxxaxxaxxa, x being unrhymed lines. So, only Line 4, Line 7 and Line 10 (the one syllable lines) rhyme.

When I discovered this form I was wondering why it was named ‘Zeno’ and not simply a ‘Hailstone’. Here’s Patrick’s own explaination on this :-
“I’ve invented what I had called a “hailstone,” after the mathematical “hailstone sequence.” It has nothing to do with Mary O’Neill’s Hailstones and Halibut Bones, but it would no doubt instantly be confused with it. Hence, “hailstone” is problematic. So I call the form a “zeno,” so named for Zeno, the philosopher of paradoxes, especially the dichotomy paradox, according to which getting anywhere involves first getting half way there and then again halfway there, and so on ad infinitum. I’m dividing each line in half of the previous one.”

Read more about the Hailstorm sequence here – Collatz conjecture and the Hailstorm sequence

Here’s a Zeno I wrote :-

Sound of the sun peeping over
Her graceful smile
Her eyes
bright
will you walk with
me my
light
unload the gloom
of this
night.

And with this we have reached the end of #napowrimo2021
Here’s the link to all my prompts for this year- NaPoWriMo2021

X for Xiaoshi #NaPoWriMo2021

Xiaoshi,(xiao – little/small, shi – poetry) is a genre of Chinese poetry which came into being in the 1920s from the so called “short poetry movement’. It is also known as the ‘Chinese Haiku‘. Xiaoshis are about presenting vivid yet unconnected images together. These metaphors or pictures just have to have a tiny bit of causality. This form is usually written as a quatrain.

For more on this form, read – “Japanese haiku and the formation of Chinese short poetry

Here’s an example I wrote :-

A purple frown
Her moral jewellery under lock
The rust browned key
A gift from a past lover.

W for Waka #NaPoWriMo2021

The forms of Japanese poetry most familiar to English poets are the Haiku and the Senryu, the 17-syllable poems. But these popular forms were derived from an older, but still popular poetic form, the Waka, which had been used for a thousand years before the haiku. The word waka means “Japanese poem,” and it is a form so basic to Japanese literature that it is still studied and written today.

The Waka is often considered synonymous with Tanka (another Japanese poetry form), because both follow a 5-7-5-7-7 syllable per line structure. However, some sources on the Waka suggests that it groups its lines together in a particular way and that is how it is differentiated from a Tanka. The first 3 lines should make up one piece, referred to as the upper verse, and the last 2 lines make another piece, what’s called as the lower verse. Some other sources group this poem into a 2-2-1 or a 2-3 form as well.

Here’s a poem that I wrote in NaPoWriMo 2020 and am still not sure whether to call it a waka or a tanka :-

A tinker bell
spun my beliefs out of
my head
While I tried to drag myself
out of the plato’s cave

V for Villanelle #NaPoWriMo2021

The Villanelle (came from villancico; Italian villano, or peasant) emerged as Italian and Spanish dance-songs during the Renaissance period. In france, it started as a ballad like free form. It did not follow any specific schemes, rhymes, or refrains. Rather, the title implied that, like the Italian and Spanish dance-songs, the poems spoke of simple, often pastoral or rustic themes. Overtime, it transformed into a form with a strict pattern and was used by English poets to write lyrical poems.

The Villanelle a highly structured poem with 19 lines, composed of six stanzas with five tercets(3 line stanzas) followed by a quatrain(4 line stanza). The poem uses two repeating rhymes and two refrains. The first and third lines of the first stanza are repeated alternately in the last lines of the succeeding stanzas; then in the final stanza, the refrain serves as the poem’s two concluding lines. The form can be expressed as :-

A1 b A2 / a b A1 / a b A2 / a b A1 / a b A2 / a b A1 A2
Capitals stand for the refrains and lowercase letters for the rhymes.

To get a better grip over the rules, read “Do not go gentle into that good night” by Dylan Thomas 

Here’s my attempt at a Villanelle :-

Foolish I would be not to say but speak
of this new land with a waning king
And the pastures turning gray and weak.

The summer has left all rough and bleak
Desolate farms linger for the spring
Foolish I would be not to say but speak.

The birds all howl and squeak
Watching torrid green lost to a wring
And the pastures turning gray and weak.

I hunt not for righteousness, but only seek
With faith of a new day, and all it could bring
Foolish I would be not to say but speak.

The Emperor, he stands at the mightiest peak
While all else beneath him keeps breaking
And the pastures turning gray and weak.

What water couldn’t find in a lonely creek
We long for it with hope tied to a string
Foolish I would be not to say but speak
And the pastures turning gray and weak.



U for Ubi Sunt #NaPoWriMo2021

Ubi Sunt poems have come from the Latin phrase ‘ubi sunt’ meaning ‘where are they?’. This genre of verse is concerned with the subject matter and theme of the poem rather than the syntactic properties of a poem. The poems often revolve around passing of a person, an era, a season or basically anything held dear. So while writing an Ubi Sunt, don’t forget to add a pinch of nostalgia.

Here’s something I think I can call an Ubi Sunt poem

Like the southern breeze
You entered my life
Pinning down the doors of unexpectancy
Lighting the exhausted flames in me once

Kissing the broken chunks
Piece by piece
You put me back together
Like a jigsaw puzzle

Your smile, your laughter
Twas the sweet melody of my life
Your voice, danced in me
Like some angelic rhythm

Your eyes were the mystical art
Unfathomable, like an abstruse dream
The motion of your lips while you spoke
sparkled my mind with magic

How long has it been since I have seen you?
Been with you?
Days, months, years, centuries
have passed, haven’t they?
They do not hold significance
Time is relative in such wistful forms

I felt your spirit, your soul
Through the poetry that you spoke
Through the transcendental touch
It wasn’t all a dream, was it?
Oh! where is it all gone?

T for Tautogram #NaPoWriMo2021

According to Wikipedia, A tautogram (Greek: tauto gramma, “same letter”) is a text in which all words start with the same letter. So basically a Tautogram poem is a poem in which all words begin with the same letter.

Here’s an example :-

Sunday Sunrise
sinking slowly
sweet shadows speak
Soul sees soothing sea
Sempiteral, sovereign sun sings
scenic seasons’ sensuality
Spirit sets serene sail.

R for Rime Couee Poems #NaPoWriMo2021

The Rime Couee is a French poetic form that uses six-line stanzas with a tail-rhyme structure. The term ‘tail-rhyme’ refers to a stanza which is concluded by a short line that rhymes with a previous short line but which is separated from it by a long line.
Let’s look at the rules for writing a Rime Couee :-

  • Has to have six-line stanzas. Can be written in any number of sestets.
  • Eight syllables in lines one, two, four, and five.
  • Six syllables in the third and sixth lines.
  • Rhyme scheme for a stanza is aabccb.

Here’s my example :-

I want to subsume everything
summer, autumn, winter, and spring
heart, body, mind, and soul
and all the beauty of this world
inside a word for you, all furled
a scant more than just whole.

O for Ottava Rima #NaPoWriMo2021

Ottava Rima is a poetry form of Italian origin. This form came into being around the late 13th and early 14thcentury and was developed by Tuscan poets. It was established as a form for epic and narrative verse. 
In English, it was used by Lord Byron to write Beppo and Don Juan. It was also employed by contemporary poets like William Butler Yeats and Kenneth Koch

An Ottava Rima stanza has 8 lines with an abababcc rhyme scheme and is written in Iambic pentameter (10 syllables). Some sources on this form define it as a poem with 8 lines of 11 syllables each. It can work as a stand-alone poem or with multiple stanzas.

Here’s my example :-

It came to me seeking myself anew
Dear old ego writhing in agony
Probing me for some sacred darkness too
Waking up the man living inside me
She walks with me, a purpose to pursue
Carrying a list of those who wronged me
A thread, a nail, and few judgments to cast
and burn down the home that houses the past

M for Mondo #NaPoWriMo2021

Mondo is another short form of poetry that comes from Japan. The idea is to pose a question in the first stanza and then try to answer it in the second. A single stanza of a Mondo has 5-7-7 syllabic structure knows as a Katuata (side poem or a half poem). The Mondo is pretty similar to a Sedoka but varies in terms of the subject matter, which is nature for mondos. This form was used as a religious training method by monks in the past, written in the spirit of Zen and encapsulating an observation of natural surroundings. It was sometimes written by two different poets.

Here’s an example :-

The Sun in glory
and a shallow creek, how it
begins before it begins?

Nature finds a way
Grain by grain, the hills falter
A valley soaked in beauty

L for Lai #NaPoWriMo2021

Lai is a French form of poetry with 9 lines and a strict syllabic structure. The rules of a Lai are pretty simple and stated below:-

• 9 lines with 2 rhymes.

• Structured as aabaabaab.

• Lines ending with the ‘a’ rhyme are five syllables long.

• Lines ending with the ‘b’ rhyme are two syllables long.

• a total of 36 syllables

There is no particular rule on the subject matter.

Here’s my attempt at a Lai :-

A picture so clear
with a hint of cheer
We see
what we wish to fear
what our eyes could hear
a plea
an eternal sneer
You held moments dear,
or me?