Written on Two Tree Island

The golden fingers of the setting sun
bestow their last caresses for the day.
Although this present day may be undone,
the sun will rise tomorrow come what may.

Now Fauna’s rich diurnal paradigm
enjoys a frolic just before bedtime:

A rowdy choir of geese sings far away,
elsewhere two croaking crows stake out their turf.
A pensive curlew slowly stalks his prey,
his curious angled limbs wading the surf.

An egret inconspicuously walks by,
two mallards are already bedding down.
The distant floating gulls still play and cry
a little, but are also settling down.

This picture postcard’s finely choreographed
by Nature’s great circadian stagecraft.

The golden fingers of the setting sun,
their work completed, begin to pull away.
Although the present day is now undone,
the sun will rise tomorrow come what may.

 

M. P. Lauretta lives in the UK. She is a humanities graduate and first became acquainted with prosody while in higher education in London. However, it wasn’t until several years later that she decided to take up the challenge of writing formal poetry with rhyme and meter, quickly developing a special predilection for the exacting but elegant form of the Shakespearean sonnet. Her first collection, entitled To a Blank Page and Other Poems, contains twenty-eight original poems, fifteen of which are Shakespearean sonnets. Her book is available from Amazon, Apple iBooks, and Barnes & Noble.

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21 Responses

  1. James Sale

    Thanks for this MP, really enjoyed your ‘staging’ of the scene, quite, quite lovely. Also, good to see another Brit writing on these pages, and one who likes Shakespeare – I will seek out your collection in due course.

    Reply
  2. C.B. Anderson

    Though some may say it doesn’t matter, there’s no doubt it makes a difference: It’s best to avoid rhyming an up-beat syllable with a down-beat syllable, as you have done in the two couplets in this poem: PAR-a-DIGM/BED-time & CHOR-e-o-GRAPHED/STAGE-craft. In fact, unaccented syllables should never be rhymed with one another. For instance, awful/terrible would be just that, though one might get away with wonderful/reliable if one supposes that the end syllables have been promoted by the very much unstressed syllables that precede them. Perfect rhyme should not be imperfect. With words that end with two unstressed syllables it’s best to rhyme them with other words where the last stressed syllables rhyme perfectly, e.g., reliable/viable, and feel free to let all of the syllables be totted in your syllable count, and not treat it as a feminine end rhyme.

    Reply
      • Joseph Tessitore

        P.S. Think I might have caught a comma that you missed (if that’s possible). First verse, last line, between “tomorrow” and “come”?

      • M. P. Lauretta

        No, I did not insert a comma there on purpose.

        I did not want the line(s) to be read with a pause.

    • M. P. Lauretta

      The ‘digm’ and ‘stage’ syllables are not really that strong, in fact they are almost weak syllables as in each case the main stress is on the first syllable, ‘par’ and ‘chor’ so I personally think it works fine.

      If anything, I think this makes the lines more interesting.

      Reply
    • M. P. Lauretta

      Also, this has to be considered within the symmetrical scheme of the poem.

      The couplets work in a different way from the ‘external’ (i.e. opening and closing) and ‘internal’ (i.e. descriptive) quatrains.

      The couplets are like ‘ribbons’ and are meant to sound different.

      Reply
  3. Mark Stone

    M.P., Hello.

    1. I agree with Mr. Anderson’s comment on meter. In my opinion, SCP should have a section called “Top 20 Tips on Writing Good Metrical Poems” and his comment should be there.

    2. Many of the lines end with commonly used one-syllable words. I hear poets say that they like language that is vivid and fresh and different, and don’t like expressions that are “well worn” or “tired.” I’m not saying that your language is “well worn” or “tired,” but I suggest you be more audacious and adventurous regarding your choice of end rhymes.

    In my poetry folder, I have a list of rhymes that I plan to use in future poems. Examples include: “effervescent / evanescent” and “a fragrant corsage / her décolletage.” So I would say when choosing your rhyme words, swing for the fences. Your rhymes in the two couplets are excellent examples of this idea (except for the metrical glitches previously mentioned).

    3. Lines 9 & 10 read as follows:

    A pensive curlew slowly stalks his prey,
    his curious angled limbs wading the surf.

    Given the iambic meter, the stress in “wading” falls on the second syllable, which is not normally where it falls. If you want to change this, you could change “wading” to “wade in” so that these lines would read as follows:

    A pensive curlew slowly stalks his prey.
    His curious angled limbs wade in the surf.

    4. I notice that line 3 says “this present day” and line 19 says “the present day.” I don’t have a problem with the difference, but am just wondering if it is intentional.

    5. I agree with Joseph’s point about the comma.

    6. I like the novel rhyme scheme, the alliterations (setting sun, croaking crows & picture postcard) and the consonance (little / settling). I love the sound of “rich diurnal paradigm.” I enjoyed the playfulness of the animals having their evening frolic. My favorite lines are 1 & 2, which are gorgeous. Thank you for sharing this poem with us.

    Reply
    • Mark Stone

      Correction to my point #1: The section on the SCP website should be called “Top 20 Tips on Writing Good Formal Poems.”

      Reply
      • James A. Tweedie

        How about “. . .Writing formal poems really good?” Seriously, I like your idea and hope someone takes you up on it.

      • James A. Tweedie

        Mark, How about “Top 20 Tips on Writing Formal Poems Really Good?” Seriously, I like your idea and hope someone takes you up on it.

    • M. P. Lauretta

      1. See my reply above.

      2. I did that in the couplets. IMHO overdoing it would spoil the overall effect.

      3. I subscribe to the advice in Stephen Fry’s excellent book on prosody entitled The Ode Less Travelled.

      4. Of course it’s intentional. It reflects the time lapse and the more advanced stage of the sunset at the end of the poem.

      5. See my reply above.

      6. Thank you for the compliments.

      I originally thought I’d write another sonnet, then I decided to take a chance with this poem and use a new structure. I thought the opening and closing quatrains echoing each other and the two internal couplets were well suited to what I wanted to convey.

      The bad news is that now I’ve run out of ideas for my next collection. 🙁

      Reply
  4. David Watt

    Hello M. P., I enjoyed your poem, and in particular, the vivid avian scenes.

    I would add a suggestion that the line “An egret inconspicuously walks by,” could be amended to “An egret unobtrusively walks by,”. This would maintain the iambic meter, without losing the intended meaning.

    Reply
    • M. P. Lauretta

      Hello David

      I thought of it at the time, but you see, although ‘inconspicuously’ and ‘unobtrusively’ may have roughly similar meanings, they are a few shades apart.

      If the one walks by ‘unobtrusively’ it is to avoid being obtrusive; it is to minimise one’s presence (perhaps to avoid impacting the scenery).

      If the one walks by ‘inconspicuously’ it is to make oneself inconspicuous, i.e. to avoid attracting attention to oneself (and perhaps risk being attacked).

      I hope that makes sense.

      M. P.

      Reply
    • M. P. Lauretta

      Furthemore ‘inconspicuously’ and ‘unobtrusively’ have exactly the same metre.

      Reply
  5. David Watt

    Hello M. P. , I am fairly sure that ‘inconspicuously’ (though iambic) is a six syllable word, and that ‘unobtrusively’ is comprised of five syllables. Of course, it is up to you which word you prefer based on shades of meaning. My point is that in reading the entire line from beginning to end, it would then, to my reading at least, read as five smoothly distinct iambs.

    Reply
    • M. P. Lauretta

      How so?

      The two words have exactly the same number of syllables – and feet, too:

      in-con-spi-cuous-ly
      un-ob-tru-sive-ly

      Reply
      • Laura

        Hi, M.P.,

        I for one enjoyed your poem and the images you created.

        The discussion of syllables is a good reminder that there can be variation in how people pronounce words. I pronounce it with six syllables: in-con-spic-u-ous-ly.

        I agree that inconspicuous and unobtrusive are slightly different and I think your choice of inconspicuous is the right choice.

        Laura

    • C.B. Anderson

      David, you are absolutely correct. Anyone who thinks that “inconspicuously” has less than six syllables either has a tin ear or speaks some unknown dialect of English. Consider the shorter word “vacuous”: It has the same vowel cluster, and no one would ever pronounce it vac-us. Or, more to the point, take “inconspicuous.” Would anyone think that this word has fewer than five syllables? And when you add “-ly” to it, of course you get six.

      Reply
  6. Martin Rizley

    I agree with Mr. Stone´s comment about the beauty of the first two lines– they are quite lovely. I love the idyllic picture painted here; it made me think of a painting by James Audubon and of a nature reserve not far from where I lived that I used to visit in the fall. It was always so peaceful– a great place for writing poetry!

    Reply

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