Aldeyjarfoss

If, in some grim sensory exercise
In a laboratory, behind a screen
Where staunch technicians memorialize
Their findings, everything we’ve heard and seen,

Or smelled and tasted, or in our hearts felt
As hope, an urgency to touch these walls
Of snow and ice, as groaning glaciers melt,
We are asked to explicate a waterfall,

To measure the sound, the rush and the roar,
The strict taxonomy of this blue spray
That brushes our faces as we search for
A crossing in the mist, we might then pray

For a sudden end, bewildered by this test,
Our certainties vanquished and put to rest.

 

Madame Is Interred

It was not time to place her in the ground,
Not yet, before an ending could be found,
A dry response to debates she started
In dim, whiskied halls where we once parted

Company, our nostalgia left behind,
With dreary, withered hearts we tried to find
Our way home, a pale longing to resume
These ashen tales, in moonlit sitting rooms.

So with prayer-books closed, the guests sent away,
We took her from the box, and in a plush chair,
Propped her up, to hear all she had to say,
Without judgment for once, generous and fair.

An hour of this, to let the evening wane,
And next morning, with the hole neatly built,
It is time, but at grave’s edge we remain,
Stayed by the vast authority of guilt.

 

Greg Tuleja was born in New Jersey and received degrees in biology and music from Rutgers University.  He has worked as a professional musician, piano technician, and flute teacher. Greg lives in Southampton, Massachusetts and is currently the Academic Dean at the Williston Northampton School in Easthampton. His poems and short stories have appeared in various literary journals and magazines, including the Maryland Review, Lonely Planet Press, Romantics Quarterly, Thema, and the journal of the California Literary Society.

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6 Responses

    • E. V.

      Leo, I agree with you that both poems are enjoyable, but I thought you believe that formal poetry should always have perfect meter. I’m curious; under what circumstance(s) do you feel it’s fine for a formal poet to abandon meter?

      Reply
  1. Leo Yankevich

    E.V.,

    What constitutes perfect metre?

    To me it’s metre that makes a poem mean the way it sounds; it’s metre that both gives the poem structure and beauty. The metre can be strict or lose; it can be accentual, iambic or syllabic. It can be many things.

    Think of metre as a canvas and beautiful frame, as a fresco or mural, etc.

    Reply
  2. Leo Yankevich

    E.V.,

    What constitutes perfect metre?

    To me it’s metre that makes a poem mean the way it sounds; it’s metre that both gives the poem structure and beauty. The metre can be strict or loose; it can be accentual, iambic or syllabic. It can be many things.

    Think of metre as a canvas and beautiful frame, as a fresco or mural, etc.

    Reply
  3. J. Simon Harris

    Both of these are very well done. This is a good example of a meeting point between modern and classical poetry. The forms are classical, but owing to the irregular meter and enjambment, the sound and flow is distinctly modern in both poems. Both poems, I think, are also very full in the sense that form and meaning complement each other well.

    Reply

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