The Poetics of
Sappho and Erinna
My poem, The Ennunment, now complete, consists of 10 cantos of 200 quatrains each, composed in iambic pentameter and rhymed according to the scheme ABAB.
Here is a typical stanza, scanned:
This wás/ her áp/ogée, her dázz/ling nóon,/
The cúl/miná/tion óf/ her bríll/iant fáme./
The quéen/dom’s bóund/aríes,/ exténd/ed sóon,/
Would lét/ be sóund/ed near/ and fár/ her náme./
Sometimes I use lines of eleven syllables, the eleventh being the simple unaccented ultima of the last word. This may be –le, -er, -ing, -y or another brief desinence of the kind. The second and fourth lines of each of these stanzas have this feature:
The car’s computer knew the way of course,
Just the reverse of my excursion hither,
Nor could I budge the door with all my force
Until I was delivered duly thither.
She would decide my station and my rank,
My habitation and my occupation,
The quantity of gold inside my bank,
My name and title, my nobilitation.
Certain words are hermaphroditic, that is, they have an uncertain number of syllables.
1.) Words with syllabic r or l following a diphthong and words with pronounced rl , regardless of the spelling. Thus the following words are both monosyllabic and dissyllabic, discretionarily: hire, higher, viol, vile, boil, boy’ll, world, whirled, girls, curls, carol, coral.
Whose cúrator, named Jévendarl, I knew
Would tower upon a fast-approaching day.
This never will transpire, mark my word,
2.) Words with short i or e preceding another vowel: curious, glorious, radiant, cetacean.
Great Ajinblambia’s illustrious kin.
Of that millennial line one of but eight,
The Queen’s exordium was in this wise,
Then on the screen, irradiant with pride,
For nuns of various orders and degrees.
3.) Words ending in –ically are usually treated as if spelt –icly: musically, ethnically, radically. Rarely I sound the a.
Rhapsodically exclaimed, “We are impressed
Held diametrically apart by sex.
4.) Words ending in -ually and –ual are usually considered to have one fewer syllable than is written. Such words are: actually, usually, visually, virtual.
Eventually the blazes did subside.
Has made a virtual paradise of Mli.
In most cases, if a verse ends in a word of three or more syllables, with the accent on the final syllable, it is necessary to rhyme only the final syllable:
Moreover, you did state, I understánd,
That, if a law existed to prevent
A woman’s kingship, you could countermánd
That statute, overruling its intent.
If, however, the accent is on the antepenultimate syllable, all three final syllables often but not always rhyme, depending on the existence of suitable counterparts:
Of Ungi, language of our famous realm,
As Queen, I rule the lexicógraphy.
My sovran hand is firm upon the helm
Of all the seas of Nya’s geógraphy.
Whereunto on the phone they did allude,
The question of my sexuálity.
For in the convent for me to intrude
Were dyed with shades of illegálity.
I prefer perfect rhymes. I avoid such rhymes as heaven/raven, grievance/allegiance, have/shave, move/love, etc. However, I regard pairs like methodically/robotically, and anatomy/academy, with t pronounced like d, as perfect rhymes.
Had been performed by scanner, and a book
Had been composed by an academy,
An atlas whereupon the queen would look
I use any modern, traditional, archaic or obsolete word that suits my fancy:
My humeral capitula she bound
Along with cashew holts and hursts of poon.
So porcellanously upon my knees
With thirty, forty, fifty thousand horse,
But as the ladies left, a dimmer switch
I often use that after conjunctions: if that, when that, because that, till that:
Till that no muscle could I flex or stretch
If that she had the scepter in her palm.
Often I place prepositions in postposition:
A car of brass, inverted frail upon
Four wheels of steel, did roll the room into.
With raven tress that hung her waist unto,
The first black scarf she sev’ral times did loop
My ankles both around to tie them snug,
Similarly, conjunctions and adverbs beginning with where- and there- often follow, rather than precede, the clauses they govern:
Unfortunate it was that train and plane
Were the conveyances we had to choose
Wherefrom, for we well understood with pain,
At terminals, that it were hard to lose
Equator, pole and tropic to maintain
My overladyship for years to come,
Imprisoning myself in grief and pain
I never would enjoy relief wherefrom?
If an English word has two possible accentuations, I sometimes add an accent mark:
A duly prómulgated statute, though.
Whose cúrator, named Jevendarl, I knew
Exquísite agony and sore distress.
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