Monday, 13 April 2015

Poems Written in Period Forms and Styles

THLaird Colyne Stewart, Kingdom A&S, April AS 49 (2015)

The Kidnapping of Badrielle

By THLaird Colyne Stewart, January AS 49 (2015)

Badrielle was stolen at Septentria’s Twelfth Night;
Adrielle’s eyes were burning with a vengeful fire.
Badrielle was stolen at Septentria’s Twelfth Night,
Stolen from her husband, the ducal northern knight;
Her students knew the matter to be of utmost dire;
Across the land soon many knew of the puppet’s plight
And friends and OAFs and strangers picked up weapons for a fight;
The duke set out to searching, sending forth his squire,
Who searched the hall and field and keep, the basement and the spire;
And guilty parties felt compelled to put to pen and write,
For they had taken her to drinking around a hearty pyre,
They prayed her Grace’s anger would therefore be sleight,
Adrielle’s eyes were burning with a vengeful fire.





A fatras simple, halfway between being a fatras possible and a fatras impossible. Based on an event that occurred at Septentrian 12th Night 2015. A well meaning prankster “kidnapped” Adrielle’s puppet alter-ego Badrielle, but failed to return her before the event ended. To say this made Adrielle’s hair stand on end would be an understatement. Badrielle is so well loved in Ealdormere (and in lands beyond) that many people were beginning to be upset. Thankfully, the “kidnapper” contacted Adrielle, and all was again well with the world.

The fatras was an obscure form utilizing 11-lines preceded by a couplet whose lines frame the rest of the poem. So, we have a couplet, then the first line of the couplet is repeated, followed by 9 more lines, and then the last line of the couplet is repeated. The fatras could use rhyme or not and did not need to have a set meter. They tend to be satirical. The basic form of the fatras is also known as the fatras simple. A fatras double is when two 11-line stanzas are formed, with the lines of the distich reversed in the second stanza. The last line is a restatement of line one of the poem. The fatras possible allows for coherent text, whereas the fatras impossible is nonsense verse.




For Varakii Varenko Vlkovitch upon being Elevated to the Order of Chivalry

THLaird Colyne Stewart, December AS 49 (2014)

In Ealdormere, in famous Ealdormere,
There lived a man adept at sword and spear,
A leader of men on the field of War,
Who carried out all deeds to which he swore.
Varenko was this stalwart valiant man,
A founding member of MacLachlan clan,
Trusted to lead the gusars[1] in battle,
Spears to fly and brilliant swords to rattle,
But of this Ktetstvo[2] more was expected,
Much more glory was to be collected.
So to the far-off foreign war he went,
To sleep on hard ground in cold darkened tent,
And in the morning, stand before his troops,
And bravely survey the foe man’s grim groups.

So to win word-fame, glory for the Tsar,
Varenko’s warriors from near and far,
The vlastèla[3], followed him on the field,
With armour bright, sword, dagger, spear and shield,
To face enemies from across the world,
Whose weapons bristled and whose banners furled.
The northfolk met their monstrous fearsome line,
Strived, fought to send them down to hell to dine,
While arrows, darts, fell down from August sky,
And comrades dropped in the dark mud to die,
Bashtinik and voynici[4] who had come
To follow Varenko in grevious scrum.
The scarlet line faltered under the foe,
And determined faces gave way to woe.
Fear strode forth from the enemies’ front rank,
Wielding weighty cudgel and face-plate dank,
The army of the north fell back in fright,
But Varenko met Fear in forthright fight,
And though Fear was a dreadful giant born,
Ktetstvo brave blew on his battle horn,
And weapons clashed and clanged and bit soft flesh,
And giant in his arms tried to enmesh
Brave Varenko, who struck off its dark head,
And left it on the trampled ground quite dead.
But before the army regained its heart,
Doubt waded out and wove its darkest art,
Turning strong souls weak, making stout faint,
Felling the brave without care or restraint.
‘Til Varenko with sword heavy with faith,
Faced his Doubt and slew the dark-hearted wraith.
The army, renewed, surged forth to the fight,
Defeating the foe ‘fore coming of night.

In Ealdormere, in famous Ealdormere,
The vlastèla returned with bloodied spear,
Hailed brave Varenko who stood at their head,
Dripping with sore wounds, the ground turning red,
Varenko, they shouted, won them the day,
Defeating the monsters loose in the frey.
Wise King and Wise Queen, then told him to kneel,
And touched his wide shoulder with royal steel,
Named him a rystar[5], a Peer of the realm,
And put their blessing atop of his helm,
He stands now exemplar of all that’s right,
Guardian against all evil and blight.




Written in the form of a bylina, a traditional East Slavic poetic form which contained 10-syllable lines and was broken into three sections (an Introduction, the Narrative and an Epilogue).


[1] Light cavalry forces.
[2] A term used for the best warriors in the Novogrod chronicle in the year 1181.
[3] Noble cavalry armed with bows and lances.
[4] Feudal land holders who had to perform military service.
[5] An accepted SCA alternate title for a knight with a Russian persona.




For His Excellency Tiberius of Warwickshire upon being named a Vigilant of the Order of Chivalry

THLaird Colyne Stewart, December AS 49 (2014)

Who tall has stood in mud stained field,
With sword in hand and banner high;
Sent spear in flight across the sky
And acted as the weakest’s shield?

Who in battle fraught will nay yield,
With gauntlet hand and armoured thigh;
Who will not let a challenge by
And all the virtues rightly wield?

Thy answer is a man from Thule:
Tiberius, the cross of right,
Clad bright in mail and silver helm,
Named chosen now by those that rule,
Touched by a sword and made a knight,
Ands stands protector of the realm.



Petrarchan sonnet in iambic tentrameter.

The original form of the Petrarchan sonnet was divided into an octave and a sestet. The octave’s rhyme scheme is usually abbaabba, while the sestet’s was more flexible (Petrarch tended to use cdecde or cdcdcd). Other possible rhyme schemes for the sestet included cddcdd, cddece or cddccd. In a strict Petrarchan sonnet, the sestet does not end with a couplet, but in English poetry this rule is not always observed (with the rhyme schemes cddcee and cdcdee also being used).

The octave is used to poise a problem or question, express a desire or otherwise present a situation that causes the poem’s speaker doubt or conflict. The problem is introduced in the first quatrain and developed in the second. The beginning of the sestet is called the volta and it introduces a change in tone of the sonnet (reflected in the rhyme scheme). The sestet comments on the problem or offers a solution to it.

The conventions of the sonnet would sometimes be subverted by court writers during the Renaissance.




Lion-Wolf of Ealdormere

By THlaird Colyne Stewart, January AS 49 (2015)

From West he came    to wed the north
Strong-armed and true                        and stalwart bold
He took a crown         in clawed paws strong
Blood-song brightened           and to battle sworn

In Shire he came         sweet song sung his blade
Cloak-danced with foes          clad bright in mail
Breaker of rings          brought forth wound-sea
Fed eagles bold           and foes he tamed

Then jarl of old           earl among earls
Trod the spread cloak             two blood-worms held
Former prince-king      Foe-man hammer
David, raven feeder    dared all to battle

In spear-din met          swift lion and wolf
Slayer of giants           singing of the deed
Took note the skalds   took note the mighty
Slaughter-dew flew    as sun light fell

They battled long        bold fighters both
Found honour there    in foe-man’s fierceness
When din was done    down fell the jarl
The Western lion         had won the day



At Tournoi de Coeur des Glace in 2015, His Royal Highness Steinnar met Syr David Martin Failsworth in the finals of the grand tournament. Syr David was the first Prince of the Principality of Ealdormere, and the first King of the Kingdom of Ealdormere, and is one of our greatest fighters. His Highness gladly met this living legend in honourable combat and was able through his own great skill to carry the day.

This poem, written in an Eddic verse form called Fornyrðislag, is to commemorate this meeting of giants. Fornyrðislag consists of 4-line stanzas, with each line broken into two half lines. The first half line had to have two stressed and two unstressed syllables, while the second half had to have two stressed and either two or three unstressed syllables. It was an alliterative form, with either the first or second stressed syllable in the first half-line alliterating with the first stressed syllable in the second half-line. As was not unusual with Nordic verse I also made liberal use of kennings.

Below I have included a foot-noted version of the poem.

From West[6] he came   to wed the north
Strong-armed and true                        and stalwart bold
He took a crown         in clawed paws strong
Blood-song[7] brightened          and to battle sworn

In Shire[8] he came        sweet song sung his blade
Cloak-danced[9] with foes        clad bright in mail
Breaker of rings[10]        brought forth wound-sea[11]
Fed eagles[12] bold        and foes he tamed

Then jarl of old           earl among earls
Trod the spread cloak             two blood-worms[13] held
Former prince-king      Foe-man hammer
David, raven feeder[14]  dared all to battle

In spear-din[15] met       swift lion[16] and wolf[17]
Slayer of giants[18]         singing of the deed
Took note the skalds[19]            took note the mighty
Slaughter-dew[20] flew  as sun light fell

They battled long        bold fighters both
Found honour there    in foe-man’s fierceness
When din was done    down fell the jarl
The Western lion         had won the day


[6] HRH Steinnar originally hailed from An Tir, whose heraldry features a lion.
[7] Battle.
[8] Bastille du Lac.
[9] When the Norse dueled they sometimes put down a cloak, upon which the combatants had to stand.
[10] A chieftain or king, here referring to the fact he is Prince of Ealdormere.
[11] Blood, indicting that he is hitting his opponents.
[12] Defeating enemies.
[13] Swords.
[14] Warrior.
[15] Battle.
[16] Steinnar is a lion, the symbol of his former home An Tir.
[17] David is a wolf, a symbol of Ealdormere.
[18] Thor.
[19] Norse poets and bards.

[20] Blood.


The Fian Stands Upon the Field

By THLaird Colyne Stewart
June 17, 2014 (AS 49)

The Fian stands upon the field
To face the noble swords of three
Brave men who will not ever yield
Nor from a challenge ever flee.
The first to draw his blade so keen
Is Rorik with his noble mien
Former champion to a Queen
His worth so easy to be seen.

Next comes Thorulfr, father, squire,
With braided beard and blue white shield,
Whose foes smolder on burning pyre
Who in defeat has rarely kneeled.
Third comes Bjarn from northern hall
Skilled with the sword and mace and maul,
His victories are beyond count
No challenge he can not surmount.

In bloody contest now they meet
Fianna from across the land
Who in fray they must now defeat
To earn the right to join their band.
Strong is the bear, and stronger still,
As more its ranks the people fill,
Strong is the bear, and strong our will,
Who next will face the Fian’s skill?



Written in the form of three rispettos in iambic tetrameter. Done as a proclamation for the challenge of Lord Rorik, THL Thorulfr and THL Bjarn, who fought their White Bear Fian challenges at War of the Trillium 2014.

Meaning “respect,” the rispetto (plural rispetti), was a Tuscan folk verse and a version of the strambotto. A rispetto was generally composed of eight hendecasyllabic lines. The earlier rispetti used a rhyme scheme of abababcc. Later rispetti used ababccdd (as well as other variations). The form reached its peak during the 14th and 15th centuries.




Crossings

Also for Mahault
By THLaird Colyne Stewart, February AS 49 (2015)

The pillars of the grandest house are built,
By deeds both great and small the bricks are laid,
And with hard work the walls and floors are gilt,
With blood and sweat the mighty mansion’s made.

The mason is Abundantia on earth,
Her toils in both hall and field are great,
Long laboured maiden held in deepest worth,
Who does not fear the fight with fickle fate.

Clementia forgive her forthright voice,
Which rises in defense of those struck mute,
To honest live, herself to be, her choice,
Who can then dare to bold denounce her route?

So do I grace her gifting words I penned,
To sister, mentor, and my closest friend.




A Shakespearean sonnet.

An early 16th century form, introduced and developed by other poets, but made most famous by Shakespeare. It consists of fourteen lines structured as three quatrains and a couplet. The third quatrain usually introduces an unexpected thematic twist (volta). In the sonnets written by Shakespeare the volta usually comes in the couplet and usually summarizes the theme of the poem or introduces a new look at the theme. The meter is almost always iambic pentameter. The usual rhyme scheme is abab, cdcd, efef, gg.




For Her Excellency Christiana MacNamara upon being named a Vigilant for the Order of the Pelican

THLaird Colyne Stewart, December AS 49 (2014)

A martyr for her children
Mother bird sits atop her nest
And feeds her young her gushing blood
Pouring forth from her pierced breast

And like this bird a mother bear
In cave cares for her cubs newborn
Protects them from the wind and rain
From talon, claw and ripping thorn

She leads through drought, the arid heat,
Through storm and sleet and tempest gale
And shoulders through the snowy drifts
To keep her young all well and hail

Like a winged snail she is a home
Who welcomes in her loving brood
Her brood the people of the land
Being the high born and the crude

Her sacrifice and toil find
Favoured grace in the royal eyes
And wolfen rulers call to her
And praise her virtues to the skies

Christiana, bear, recognized
For deeds well done and reckoned true
Named a Peer of the northern land
Whose many toils were not yet through.

A ballad.

A form of verse, often narrative and set to music and derived from the ballade (French dancing songs). Ballads were popular from the later medieval period to the 19th century.

Ballads were often composed in couplets with refrains in alternate lines. Those refrains would have been sung by the dancers in time to the music. Most northern and western European ballads were written in ballad stanza or quatrains of alternating lines of iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter (known as ballad meter). The rhyme scheme was usually abcb. However, there was considerable variety with length, number of lines and rhyming scheme. Ballads would often repeat the fourth lines of succeeding stanzas as a refrain, or the third and fourth lines of a stanza and sometimes even of entire stanzas.

The narratives of the ballads tend to deal with tragic, historical, romantic or comic themes and rely heavily on imagery.  Ribald ballads featuring rural labourers and details of their sexuality are common.




For Gann upon his Elevation to the Order of Chivalry

THLaird Colyne Stewart, December AS 49 (2014)

I invoke the name of Gann:
Gann who stands on fields of battle,
Battle, wherein he forged his name,
A name based on honour and right,
Right on his side, high his banner,
Banner steady and preaux,
Preaux is this man, word-bound,
Bound to justice and service,
Service to his King and land,
Land of the north, which he defends,
Defends with blood free spilled,
Spilled in protection of the weak,
Weak are his foes when they see him,
Him, from Éire’s northland,
Northland’s son this warrior,
Warrior for Queen and wolf-born,
Born to the lance and sword,
Sword dipped to touch his shoulder,
Shoulders a burden from high-lord,
Lord names him worthy knight,
Knight is this man, and I,
I invoke the name of Gann.


Written as an amra (a praise poem) using the technique known as conachlonn (where the last word of each line is the first word of the subsequent line). Partially inspired by Amergin's invocation of Ireland.




Þorfinnasaga

By THLaird Colyne Stewart, 2014 (AS 49)

Þorfinna, Thor’s finest,
there she stands red-handed,
life-friend and foe-hammer,
Serpent’s favoured daughter.
In spear-din, shield-maiden,
in saga, skald singer,
on cloak her foes flounder,
at Althing friends gather.

‘Neath sky-candle’s searing,
the gray-coat stands waiting,
blood-ember flood flowing,
long-tooth eagle feeding.
Her fingers ring heavy,
her arms and hands banded,
Hersir’s mind’s-worth healing,
heart-treasure of Colyne.

For Þorfinna gráfeldr, in recognition of her deeds at the Passo Hanso tournament held at War of the Trillium 2014, where she was selected by the viewing gallery as the winner of the tourney for her exemplification of the virtue of humility.

This was my first attempt at writing in the Old Norse drótkvætt style, and my inexperience does show in my lack of near rhymes in some of the second and fourth lines in the half stanzas.

Below is an annotated version of the poem.

Þorfinna, Thor’s finest[21],
there she stands red-handed,
life-friend[22] and foe-hammer,
Serpent’s favoured daughter[23].
In spear-din[24], shield-maiden[25],
in saga, skald singer[26],
on cloak her foes flounder[27],
at Althing friends gather[28].

‘Neath sky-candle’s[29] searing,
the gray-coat[30] stands waiting,
blood-ember[31] flood flowing,
long-tooth[32] eagle feeding[33].
Her fingers ring heavy[34],
her arms and hands banded,
Hersir[35]’s mind’s-worth[36] healing,
heart-treasure[37] of husband.


[21] Þorfinna means Thor’s finest.
[22] Wife.
[23] This line alludes to the serpents in her heraldry, equating them with Jormungand, the Midgard Serpent.
[24] Battle.
[25] Þorfinna is a fighter.
[26] She is also a bard. A skald was a Norse bard.
[27] This alludes to the holmgang duels which the Norse fought on a cloak laid on the ground.
[28] An Althing was a gathering to deal with judicial issues. This line is saying that Þorfinna is well respected, something she was told at this same event.
[29] The sun.
[30] Þorfinna’s byname ‘gráfeldr’ means ‘gray coat’.
[31] An axe, this one freeing her foe’s blood.
[32] Sword.
[33] Slaying her foes.
[34] The Norse gave rings as tokens quite often. After the Passo Hanso, one of Þorfinna’s opponents gave her such a token.
[35] Baron.
[36] Honour. This line is saying Þorfinna brings honour to her baron (and baroness).

[37] She is my everything.


For Ysemay Sterlyng, on Becoming a Vigilant of the Order of the Laurel

By THLaird Colyne Stewart, January AS 49 (2015)


From Eastern lands
Glad tidings flow around the knowne worlde spann’d
For Ysemay Sterlyng’s deft and graceful hands
Glad tidings flow around the knowne worlde spann’d

For Eastern royals
Will glad increase the standing of Their Laurels
With Ysemay Sterlyng, both kind and loyal
Will glad increase the standing of Their Laurels

With Eastern grace
She stands a Peer, forever in her place
Bright Ysemay Sterlyng of the smiling face
She stands a Peer, forever in her place


Notes on the Piece
You’ll have to bear with me on this one. Ysemay is being made a Laurel for her knowledge of 16th century Germany (an era I know nothing about). So, I looked into what kind of poetic traditions were common in that time and found the Meistersingers, guilds of professional poets and singers who lived by dozens if not hundreds of rules (Die Kunstausdrücke der Meistersinger, a rule book written in 1887, is almost 300 pages long).

I could only find basic information about the Meistersingers in English, so my attempt at writing lyrics in their style may be WAY off. Further research will have to discover how close or far I got.

Meistersingers apparently wrote their verse in three strophes (or stanzas). I could not find out what kind of strophe they used (as there are many kinds), so I based mine on a piece of musical notation I found for Veilchenweise by Hans Folz. The lyrics were not included so I could not see the rhyming scheme, but it did allow me to see exactly how the strophe was constructed from its parts. I decided to go with an AAAA BBBB CCCC rhyming scheme.

Each strophe was divided into two stollen (confusingly also referred to as stanzas, and collectively known as an aufgesang). They were followed by an abesang (the after-song). It was apparently not uncommon for the stollen to be of different lengths. Melodically, the abesang would mirror the end melody of the aufgesang. I have included this mirroring by repeating the second stollen as the last line of the abesang.

So, deconstructed, here is the first strophe of my poem:

Aufesang
[Stollen 1] From Eastern lands
[Stollen 2] Glad tidings flow around the knowne worlde spann’d

Abesang
For Ysemay Sterlyng’s deft and graceful hands
Glad tidings flow around the knowne worlde spann’d

Technically, this should be written to music, but I know next to nothing about writing music.




For HE Catherine Townson upon being named a Vigilant of the Order of the Laurel

THLaird Colyne Stewart, December AS 49 (2014)

There is a dame quite skilled at loom,
Whose work in garden makes herbs bloom,
Whose art and knowledge are quite clear,
And so the Royals name her Peer.

Kind Catherine Townson she is named,
In Ealdormere her work is famed,
By hoe or shuttle, thread or shear,
And so the Royals name her Peer.

With weft and weave and warp and sley,
She labours each and every day,
And students hands she can now steer,
And so the Royals name her Peer.

On knee descended, rises bold,
A ring of leaves on hand to hold,
For her the Laurels raise a cheer,
And so by Royals she is Peer.

Written as a kyrielle, written in quatrains (a-a-b-B c-c-b-B), in iambic tetrameter.

A French verse form using short, octosyllabic, rhyming couplets. When written in English the lines are generally iambic tetrameters. These couplets were often paired into quatrains and employed a refrain that was sometimes a single word, and sometimes the full second line of the couplet, or the full fourth line of the quatrain. There is no limit to the number of stanzas in a kyrielle, though three is considered the accepted minimum. The form takes its name from the Old French kiriele, which is a derivative of the word kyrie (a form of Christian liturgical prayer).

If the poem is written in couplets, the rhyme scheme will be aA, aA. If written in quatrains there is greater freedom in the rhyme scheme, such as aabB, ccbB or abaB, cbcB.




Singing in the Quire

For Athrawes Tarian verch Gadarn
By THLaird Colyne Stewart, February AS 49 (2015)

In master’s hands the boards turn,
By gimlet and plane they churn;
As at her knee pupils learn,
And for new books their hearts yearn.

Yearn to sew the quires straight,
Bind the folia of eight,
Band to board and mate to mate,
Save it from unworthy Fate.

Fate can be athwarted sore
With skin of the goat or boar,
Corner-pieces numbered four,
And catch-plate, bosses and score.

Score the end-band, sing it loud,
Hold end product to the crowd;
Nimble fingers never cowed,
Makes her kingdom ever proud.




I tried to write this poem using the Welsh cywydd metrical form, but I didn’t get it quite right. In cywydd each first line of the couplet should end on a stressed syllable, while the second line ends on an unstressed syllable. All of my lines ended up stressed. It is a very foreign concept to me to end on an unstressed syllable. I also found working with seven syllable lines to be odd (I usually write even numbered lines).

I did however manage to use two Welsh poetic devices (cerdd dagod). The first was using a single end-rhyme in each section of the poem (in this case quatrains). In Welsh this is known as awdl simpliciter (though poems written in awdl simpliciter were usually much longer in length. A *lot* longer.) The second was cyrch-gymeriad, which is using the last word of a stanza as the first word of the following stanza.

Final verdict: it’s ok. I need more practice in trying to adapt Welsh poetics into English. Or learn Welsh. You know, whichever.




For Eirik Andersen upon being elevated to the Order of the Pelican

November 2014 (AS 49)
By THLaird Colyne Stewart

For Ealdormere Andersen tended
and built and laboured and mended.
From city to town he has flown
and under him all this has grown
like the Pantheon defended.

Through trials and hardship he wended,
any he met were well friended
and all of his works were well sown
For Ealdormere.

Now his knee will be bended
with honour to his name lended;
From Royals favour he’s shown
As he stands before lupine throne.
Now to a Peerage ascended
For Ealdormere.

Written as a rondel (my first attempt).

The rondel is a 13th century fixed poetic form, a variant of the rondeau, that runs on two rhymes. It usually consisted of fourteen lines of eight or ten syllables divided into three stanzas (two quatrains and a sextet), with the first two lines of the first stanza serving as a refrain of the second and third stanzas. In some cases, rondels are thirteen lines long, with only the first line of the poem repeated at the end. Sometimes the term rondel and rondeau were used interchangeably.




For Siegfried Brandbeorn upon being named a vigilant of the Order of the Pelican

By THLaird Colyne Stewart, February AS 49 (2015)

Siegfried, bold knight,
Look now to light;
Behold what waits,
What monarch states:
For service done,
For honour won,
For duty full,
For grace’s pull,
Bow down your head.
Be not in dread,
As rulers speak
Of phoenix beak,
Of hands hurt raw,
Of wolfen paw,
Of feet sore tread,
Of oaths you said,
Of feasts you cooked,
Of halls you booked,
Of land you tilled,
Of roles you filled.
For service done,
For honour won,
Unbend your knee,
We look to thee,
With glory gird,
We wait your word,
Not done by half,
Most worthy Graf.


Written as a Sprechspruch, a German form employed by the minnesingers. It consists of 4-beat lines, arranged in rhymed pairs. It is unstrophic (that is, it is not divided into regular stanzas) but could be divided into sections of various lengths at the poet’s whim. The form is fairly simple, except for the fact that 4-beat lines are hard to write, what with them being so short!




Illumination

For Baroness Mahault of Swynford
By THLaird Colyne Stewart, February AS 49 (2015)

From fingers flow a scene,
Of gold leaf, red and green,
Ink and paint they dance,
The quill her quiet lance,
Lines arch crisp and lines arch clean,
To convey gift from her queen.



Mahault, while not having a full persona, did take her name from the Flemish version of Matilda. Therefore, I wanted to write something for her in the Flemish style. Flanders (which is now part of modern Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands) shared its literary styles with both the Germans and the Dutch. Therefore I decided to write a minnelied (which literally was a poem or song written by a minnesinger). I found an example of a minnelied that was six lines long with a rhyme scheme of AABBAA. The first two lines had 6-syllables, the following two had 5-syllables, and the last two lines had 7-syllables. This is the manner in which I wrote my poem.



Join the Fian of the Bear

By THLaird Colyne Stewart, January AS 49 (2015)

If you would test your mighty arm,
And keep the barony from harm,
And in the soldier’d bonds you’d share,
Then join the Fian of the Bear.

Against the giants of the field,
You must fight well and never yield,
And dance or arch, or game with flair,
To join the Fian of the Bear.

So make a challenge bold and true,
And stab with spear, with red sword hew,
Defeat fianna battled fair,
And join the Fian of the Bear.


A kyrielle.

A French verse form using short, octosyllabic, rhyming couplets. When written in English the lines are generally iambic tetrameters. These couplets were often paired into quatrains and employed a refrain that was sometimes a single word, and sometimes the full second line of the couplet, or the full fourth line of the quatrain. There is no limit to the number of stanzas in a kyrielle, though three is considered the accepted minimum. The form takes its name from the Old French kiriele, which is a derivative of the word kyrie (a form of Christian liturgical prayer).

If the poem is written in couplets, the rhyme scheme will be aA, aA. If written in quatrains there is greater freedom in the rhyme scheme, such as aabB, ccbB or abaB, cbcB.




Berend

By THLaird Colyne Stewart, February AS 49 (2015)

A knife so sharp it cuts the sun,
Bright glinting on the helmet done,
The hound baying at his heel,
The forks forged from shining steel,
Acorns grow in a field,
Rodent spread on his shield,
AND in his harness ventures forth to fight;
Soap he renders out of the fat,
Pounding rivets, pummeled, hammered flat,
The quill held in calloused hand,
Letters wrought, the small, the grand,
Mixing ink in white shell,
Pounding on training pell,
AND learning values from his worthy knight.

Reading all books that come to hand,
Behind the thrones of Royals stands,
Carves the meat in feasting hall,
Fearing not the weather’s squall,
Brewing beer, and sweet wine,
Walking through both oak, pine,
AND aids his squire-brothers as he can;
Teaching both in hall and the field,
His worth of measure well revealed,
Cooking over pit of fire,
Being knightly he ‘spires,
All these works by one soul,
Done not for writ or scroll,
THESE are the things that make a mighty man.


OK. This is a priamel. That is to say, it’s a type of German poem that throws around a lot of seemingly unrelated ideas until tying them together at the end. So the lines of this priamel throw out a lot of details about different stuff, but in the end we learnt hat it is all stuff that Berend has done. Berend, having a Dutch persona, would have grown up hearing the work of the mineesingers (hence my choice of German poetics).

While the genre of the poem is the priamel, the form I used is called leich. The leich was a lyric form, similar to the French descort, which was widely used between circa 1200 and 1350. Poems written as a leich were designed to be sung. It could use irregular stanza forms and could be non-repetitive (or it could use a standard stanza form and repeat verses). Regardless of its regularity or irregularity of stanzic form, it was isostrophic (which meant all stanzas conform to the first stanza). They generally had a lot of short rhyming units and could use different types of rhyme.

So I built a stanza form of two 8-syllable lines, followed by two lines of 7-syllables, two lines of 6-syllables, and ending with a line of 10-syllables. This is not a standard stanza form; I wanted to be able to enjoy the freedom of having the option of having an irregular stanza form. The lines were rhyming couplets (AABBCC) while the last line (D) would rhyme with the last lines of the following stanzas. I decided to go with four stanzas, and split them equally in half (so two stanzas per half). I did include a little tiny bit of repetition by having the first three 10-syllable lines start with the same word (which I also decided to render in capital letters). I mainly used end-rhyme, though there is some alliteration in there too.




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