Read about last night’s lunar eclipse here.

Thoughts on January 31, 2018’s Complete Lunar Eclipse

Reflected Glory, full and bright,
Transforming inky, blackest night
To wonderland of silver-grey,
A tintype of my world by day.

But strangely, in the early hours,
I wake as Full-Moon’s brilliance lours
So slowly, incrementally,
That human eye can scarcely see

The blurring of that Orb so clear,
Which slowly starts to disappear.
The World and all its Cares intrude
Upon the brightest attitude.

Reflected Glory, on my face,
The World can blur, blot out, erase,
Just like Earth’s shadow on the Moon
That bit by bit, but all too soon

Can dim the image of the Sun
Upon Moon’s face, ‘til there is none.
Just shadow, dead, and cold and still,
Devoid of Light, and numb and chill.

Oh, World and all your Suffering,
Pass o’er me quickly, and then bring
The Son, to shine again on me.
Let me reflect His Majesty.

 

 

Beatitude #3:  The Meek

Though you might have been, like others,
Wildly letting passion loose,
Proud, contending with your brothers,
Status given to abuse,

Yet you chose to tame your spirit,
To ignore your pride of place,
Having might, to always gear it
Gentler, kinder, full of grace.

Strength controlled and power harnessed
Governed by your Father’s will,
Now you gain the earth: your harvest
Spilling out from Heaven’s till.

 

Beatitude #5:  The Merciful (A Sonnet)

That you had been served wrong, there was no doubt,
For all agreed injustice had been done.
You’d suffered that mistreatment one-on-one,
Offenses marring everything throughout
That time, with never sign of turnabout.
Until that day, observed by everyone,
When tables were reversed, positions spun,
When suddenly you had the greater clout.
But when that day arrived, we watched, confused
As you resolved to not retaliate.
Instead you gave forgiveness, mercy too:
A gift from you, absolving the accused.
This kindness shown, your clemency so great,
Invokes now, grace from Heaven, poured on you.

 

Beatitude #8:  They Which Are Persecuted

Beaten and abused, ill-treated,
Though you never gave them cause,
Pushed around, exploited, cheated,
–Not for breaking any laws–

Only for the path you followed,
Seeking Truth and giving Grace,
Trusting in that Name, so hallowed,
Glory shining in your face.

Righteousness that made them spiteful,
Goodness that brought out their worst,
Now you’ve suffered for what’s rightful,
Like the prophets from the first.

Lift your heads up, all afflicted,
Know there comes another day,
When the Kingdom, as predicted
Comes into your hands to stay.

Read the rest of the beatitudes here: theoccasionalcaesura.wordpress.com

 

Amy Foreman hails from the southern Arizona desert, where she homesteads with her husband and seven children.  She has enjoyed teaching both English and Music at the college level, but is now focused on home-schooling her children, gardening, farming, and writing. 

Related Post

‘The Cost of Higher Education’ by James A. Tweed...   I am a university in the U.S. of A. Becoming more dependent on Red China every day. We seek out Chinese students for the money that they b...

21 Responses

  1. Joseph S. Salemi

    All four poems are tightly constructed and commendable. I would suggest one possible change: in the first piece on the total eclipse, you might consider removing the capitalization from words such as “Glory,” “Cares,” “Orb,” “Suffering,” “World,” “Sun,” and “Moon.” It seems unnecessary, and is somewhat old-fashioned.

    Reply
  2. Amy Foreman

    I’m a bit of a fan of “old-fashioned,” but you may be right, Joseph! Thanks for your comments, as always. 🙂

    Reply
    • Amy Foreman

      That’s weird. My responses keep showing up above the comments, but that last thanks was to you, Joe Tessitore! 🙂

      Reply
  3. J. Simon Harris

    All of these are beautifully done, but I especially like the simile in the poem about the lunar eclipse. What a lovely thought, and a well written expression of it.

    Reply
  4. Drew U. A. Eclibse

    The beatitudes are beautifully done. Though brief, #3 with trochaic tetrametres, is echoic of Kipling’s “If,” while #5 demonstrates verbal dexterity in an Italian sonnet: notice the strong impulse in Ms. Foreman’s English sonnet writing to place a couplet at the end, despite its structure. Other than its excellent turns of phrase, of which there are many, e.g., “positions spun,” “clout” at the octave’s end, the alliterative, “As you resolved to not retaliate,” “gave, forgiveness” followed by “gift,” what I admire is the normalized simplicity of line, a very difficult achievement. That particular strain Ms. Foreman is pursuing is as good and pure as that of any writer in the English language.

    In “Thoughts on January 31, 2018’s Complete Lunar Eclipse,” the six stanzas of iambic tetrametre couplets are reminiscent of 17th century poetic practitioners. As to Mr. Salemi’s suggestion to “remove the capitals,” each of us has his or her own aesthetic; and I have to admit I targeted certain words for capitals in a poem on the “same” topic as well; but I long ago jettisoned capitals at the beginning of lines, that both Mr. Salemi and Ms. Foreman use in their poetry.

    The Super, Blood, Blue Moon: January 31st, 2018
    by Drew U. A. Eclibse

    On January 31st, before the Moon dipped down
    into the light of dawn, as it—the Earth—was going round,
    its bright and pale whitish colour slowly darkened some,
    and fell behind the shadow of the Earth—blocked from the Sun.
    The Moon became an eerie sight, cast in a reddish hue;
    because its light was bent, it gave a faint and glowing view,
    the super, blood, blue Moon illumining my white bed spread.
    O, it was not the frost that made it seem a dullish red.
    I gazed between the shutters, as the bright moon reappeared,
    and looked ahead, within my home, as one more ending neared.

    Though Ms. Foreman and I wrote poems on the exact same topic (and without either of us knowing the other had written thus), our purposes and our methods were entirely different (a not-exact replication of the challenge of Leigh Hunt and John Keats). We were pursuing different ideas. I was actually astonished at the metaphor Ms. Foreman developed in her poem, when my mind was traveling down a completely alternate path. Certainly her theme, “Reflected Glory,” was masterfully done. Note

    1. the theme, “Reflected Glory” stated at the beginning and repeated midway;

    2. the neatly alliterative trope tintype;

    3. the descriptive, anthropomorphic “lours”;

    4. the brilliant use of “incrementally,” a technique I enjoy using, that Dickinson showcased in her poetry;

    5. the intricate sentence (what I like to call thought-weave, in my Anglo-Saxon moments) that is developed in stanzas 4 & 5;

    6. and finally, the tidy wrap-up of the concluding stanza.

    One similarity between the two poems is their dating, a practice utilized by Romantic poets, such as Burns and Wordsworth, that I have embraced in my docupoetry, so much so I even stick the dates in the actual poems themselves. Another similarity is the importance of colour in the poems. A third resemblance is the use of the “tug of the World.”

    Reply
    • Joseph S. Salemi

      I personally prefer the capitalization of initial letters in a line of verse, simply because without them a poem is downright ugly, typographically speaking. The random mix of capitals and lower-case letters at the beginning of lines is offensive to the eye, and utterly unnecessary. And it is purely a posturing affectation of modernism, designed not to improve one’s poetry but to make some kind of virtue-signally statement about oneself. (“Lookit me, folks — I’m modern!”)

      However, I recognize that my preference is not the practice of all poets, so I tolerate the practice in my magazine if a poet insists on it. But the capitalization of abstract nouns in an English poem (“Love,” “Glory,”) is decidedly old-fashioned, since it goes back to an eighteenth- and nineteenth-century habit of capitalizing all nouns, on the model of German. When I see it today, it reminds me of reading Coleridge or Carlyle.

      Reply
      • Amy Foreman

        Thank you for your thoughts, Joseph. I agree with your opinion on capitalization at the beginning of lines . . . aesthetically speaking. I think it all comes down to personal style. I happen to like the capitalization of abstract nouns in certain metaphorical poems, though some may view it as old-fashioned.

        Does the poem suffer for the poet having capitalized those nouns? Would the poem suffer if those nouns were not capitalized? Who knows? But each poet crafts his/her piece with a rather subjective personal aesthetic, and then it is up to the public to either criticize or laud.

        I tend to think that if structure, meter, rhyme, and form are solid, then these peripheral preferences and quirks can take their merited “back seat.”

  5. Amy Foreman

    Bruce, your analysis of my poetry is both kind and spot-on. I am both honored and humbled that you took the time to formalistically examine my work. Thank you so much for including your beautiful poem about the eclipse, inspired by the same event, but, as you said, travelling down a completely alternate path. And I love the creative heteronym you used for your comment–your wit is always appreciated!

    Reply
    • Joseph S. Salemi

      Dear Amy —

      Yes, I agree… it’s largely a matter of taste, and not of necessity. And of course the issue of typography does not arise when a poem is recited. But most poems will eventually survive as printed texts only, not as living words passed on by speakers.

      Reply
  6. Wilbur Dee Case

    1. Perhaps Mr. Eclibse was mainly trying to point out that poets use capitalization differently; and, that like Mr. Salemi and Ms. Foreman, there are differing points of view on this “peripheral preference.”

    2. Mr. Salemi brings up an important point about German capitalization, of nouns and pronouns; partially from my studies in German literature, there was a point in my life when I nearly always capitalized You, We, They, etc.; and, of course, it is not uncommon, even today, for writers to capitalize He in reference to God.

    3. When I think of reading writers utilizing capitals, I most frequently think of the great prosaist of the English language—Jonathan Swift—and I must admit that I enjoy reading his works, capitals and all.

    4. Mr. Salemi is in good company with poets who used capitals at the beginnings of their lines, from traditional poets up through writers, like Whitman, Rimbeau, Corbiére, LaForgue, Yeats, Robinson, Hardy, Eliot, Crane, Frost, Millay, Pasternak, Valéry, Stevens, Masefield, de la Mare, Auden, Larkin, Pessoa, Trakl, D. H. Lawrence, Jarrell, Owen, Apollinaire, Sandburg, George, Heaney, Brecht, Thomas, Guillén, Bonnefoy, Roethke, Tate, Wilbur, Hughes, Plath—just to name a few.

    5. On the other hand, poor Mr. Eclibse, the group of poets that used capitals at the beginnings of lines like he does is much smaller, and much more recent, really only since Modernism, writers like, Rilke, Mayakovsky, Jiménez, Benn, Salinas, Lorca, Neruda, Vallejo, Drummond de Andrade, Fortini, Celan, H. D., Ginsberg, Lowell, Bishop, Brodsky, Stafford, Gioia—again, just to name a few. Moore, whose chiseled poems could also fit into this structure, however, she was an advocate of indented lines.

    6. Of course, there is another group, who often dispensed with capitals altogether, like Williams, Arp, Ungaretti, Montale, Herbert, Seferis, etc., or the prose-poets, like Solzhenitsyn, Cavafy, Ponge, etc. And lots of the aforementioned poets, including one of my favourite poets, Borges, indulged in both capitals at the beginnings of lines and not.

    7. And then, there is the poet who is often conflated with typographical experimentation—E. E. Cummings—and who sometimes didn’t even capitalize his name. Although I only minimally follow Cummings in his practice, I believe Cummings understood the potentialities of capitalization better than any writer in English, as evidenced in nearly all of his poems, even in an extremely short poem, like “Old Age Sticks.”

    old age sticks
    up Keep
    Off
    signs)&

    youth yanks them
    down(old
    age
    cries No

    Tres)&(pas)
    youth laughs
    (sing
    old age

    scolds Forbid
    den Stop
    Must
    n’t Don’t

    &)youth goes
    right on
    gr
    owing old

    Reply
    • Amy Foreman

      Good examples, all, Wilbur–and ones that illustrate Mr. Salemi’s comment: “[ . . .] most poems will eventually survive as printed texts only[.]”

      Though each of us may fall into a different category with regard to capitalization, I hope that the important, lasting meaning of our poetry will transcend our form. And, as far as our different methods in capitalization go, I believe my father-in-law got it right: “Just keep doing what you’re doing; sooner or later, you’ll be back in style.” 🙂

      Reply
  7. Wilbur Dee Case

    The choice of not using only capitals at the beginning of lines is not peripheral for me. The following quote from T. S. Eliot applies.

    “…we may say positively with Mr. Ezra Pound, that verse must be at least as well written as prose. We may even say that the originality of some poets has consisted in their finding a way of saying in verse what no one else has been able to say except in prose or spoken.”

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.