A Classic Sampler
Beowulf / Viking Poetry
Sir Gawain & the
Green Knight and Pearl
Poetic Techniques /
Masthead / Awards
New Changes & Old
This is not about
not poetry for the mind's eye,
bare words arranged
across the page as if
were measured out in lines.
If I wish to confess
kaleidoscope visions of Lucy in the sky
whose diamonds burst the limits of the printed page
perhaps then I will howl freely.
But I will not call it verse.
Nor is it galloping couplets of rhyme
In dactylic, trochaic, iambic time.
Why should I gallop with lassoes on feet,
Chasing wild rhymes till I'm tempted to cheat?
English is English, a strong-stressed speech,
Saxon and savage (though Chaucer did teach
Sonnets Italian and ballads from France,
Measures whose rhythms are perfect for dance.)
I will not struggle to order each word
In a strict anapestic and singsongy herd.
Copyright © 1999, Paul Deane. All Rights Reserved.
For rhythm can run ragged along
harsh, hard as the hand of death
when plague prospers and men perish,
I will sing softly when my song demands it,
modulate my meaning by the movement of my words
up, down or onward as my art requires.
There are few who feel freedom in the beat
of Beowulf's rhythms, few bards and fewer
who love alliteration and look back
to old arts for unremembered beauty.
Yet there is music in myth, insight in old songs,
in forgotten ground the memory of magic words
echoes, calling hearts to hear
more than momentary passion that soon passes
like the jumping jingles of an advertiser's vision.
There is nothing new on earth,
or under the sun,
--- when we reach our roots, ---
--- we've barely begun. ---
So begin: I give you a soft seed
and black earth to feed it. Bright
sun may soon light our way,
but the first shoot will not wait for day.