seeking: lists of nouns (in pentameter lines)
e.g. “Rocks, caves, lakes, fens, bogs, dens, and shades of death.” There must be many in Chaucer, but most are overly polysyllabic (though “With dust, with sond, with straw, with clooth, with chippes” is in the right spirit; and “As oke, fir, birch, aspe, alder, holm, poplere / Willow, elm, plane, ash” etc fits). Otherwise, books.google and I come up with:
Puffs, powders, patches, Bibles, billet-doux.
Tennyson (Simeon, on top of the pillar, bears)
Rain, wind, frost, heat, hail, damp, and sleet, and snow
(also endures “coughs, aches, stitches, ulcerous throes and cramps”)
Browning (Childe Harold)
Bog, clay and rubble, sand and stark black dearth.
Eliot’s “Stone, bronze, stone, steel, stone, oakleaves, horses’ heels” is the only 20th-c line I can think of, and it shouldn’t really count. Neither does this (Swift) but is worth quoting:
Sweepings from butchers’ stalls, dung, guts, and blood,
Drowned puppies, stinking sprats, all drenched in mud,
Dead cats, and turnip tops, come tumbling down the flood.
The Ode Less Travelled has been out for a while now, six years in fact since its first publication. Nobody needs another review - have a look at the amazon ones. I got the paperback in 2009.
They say “constraint sets you free” (well, I do, anyway). With no limit to the available stream of syllables and sentences which your language flings at you, you’re transfixed like the proverbial duck in headlights. You’re quite unable to begin creating exactly because the possibilities are endless. (It is a duck, isn’t it?)
Anyway - regardless of how you feel about poetry - if you just like playing with words then the strictures and structures imposed by the iambic pentameter allow you to get moving. Don’t think of this as ‘other people’s poems’
I think it may be possible to put
A word or comment in a tiny box
And simultaneously to hide a foot
Some twenty times in freshly rolled up socks
Once you’ve committed that kind of crime, preferably several times just to prove you can repeat the experiment reliably (but I won’t bore you here with any further chalked outlines) you can cast the chains and go mental:
Gracefully noiseless lessness trampolined in the rushes, the rivers, the baskets of fruit flies, the soporific drosophila outrageously topping the melanine toffee. Can it be about to be that we shall fling our rapidly responsible troops of solidity at the swings and rotund abbots of ministerial wedges? Did the flagrant oil of rabbit fry them dry? Did it?
Then you paint it. This can be fun. But maybe you don’t want to do it out loud.
These damn musical theatre kids are always in the lounge
It’s a student lounge. I’m trying to lounge. Calm your asses down with that singing. If I could get wifi anywhere else, I would. But until then, I’m like
But these bitches don’t know what quiet is, so I have to repeat myself in some kind of simple pattern until they get it.
But they don’t understand anything not set to iambic pentameter.
Bastion, or I Wish This Were Actually About Somebody
It is like the Infinite Architect
Spent all his energy on your blueprint.
With perfect revetment and parapet,
All lines loophole and form a carotid.
I spy your dog-legged geometries,
Coming full circle at a single cusp,
Your outer walls are beautiful chemise,
Not besmirched by weapons nor by Time’s rust.
And on the inside, with arch after arch
To walk through just to sit in the great hall,
I’d lead no less than all my men to march
For a tiny glimpse of your corniced walls.
You’ve proven how mighty your fortress is,
Now I implore you, let down your drawbridge.
An Ode to 2011 (by me)
Inspired young who shape magnific ends
Go forth to meet their journeys, still untold.
And while they render tears from loyal friends,
Their mentors sob, emotions uncontrolled.
The clouds which swept across the field in threat
Were shone upon by God’s majestic light.
Expected rain contained till gath’ring’s end
Has shown that good shall stand to win the fight.
A mesh of blue and gold that prospers forth,
This class of great integrity and strife,
Must march unto these years of brilliant worth
And strain to live the mighty wolv’rine life.
A class so unified in selfless heart
Now learns that story’s end is but its start.
I think of all the things we never shared
and memories that we have never made
no quiet moment when our souls we bared
beneath the starry skies we never laid
no warm wet kisses of a long goodbye
no sweet embrace upon a safe return
we never shared a soft contented sigh
nor felt the flaming fire of passion burn
but though we may have missed so many things
and unfulfilled our dreams we never caught
my broken heart with sorrow always sings
declares the truth for which it should have fought
with tear-filled eyes I share why I am sad
you are the best thing that I never had
A trace of darkness leads my heart away.
Sonnets make me feel better. I’m really good at it. I can write about whatever the hell I want and take it anywhere. That’s the beauty of a sonnet: it moves quickly. You have fourteen lines to take the reader from one perspective to another. From start to finish. How much can you say in one hundred and forty syllables?
4/365 Iambic Pentameter
Been a while.. ok.. Here it goes…
Lacking cognition, attached to systems
You revel, enslaved and count it a plus
Switch on, drop out and treat more than symptoms
Just release your fears, enter you, join us
I accept the terms, and fight your babble.
Where’s my mind focused? Solely here right now.
I’ll release the self, destroy my chattel.
I will not falter, not for my life’s vow!
Dali closeted, Poe-entrenched in gloom.
Empty minds allow this heart to bloom,
we do not exist as words without rhyme,
but a universal language, that wraps
up galaxies in spiral meter, time
tongues curl ‘round dust, lick particle syntax
all dialouge, every soliloquy
sounded among the starry audience
ever expanding oral histories—
vox dei fiat lux— boundless eloquence.
in the margins, the fragment our planet
ordered as a simple tercet, written
ornate with decourus spin, god laments
language bent to destroy the holy hymn
god’s eternal fear; truth lost, love’s veil rent—
man particles god mortal, love intent.