So, bear with me here; I know it’s not great, but I was mashing my brain against this first Canto without any true necessity. Poems like these require a certain heaviness I cannot fully achieve (just yet), my poetry still draws much from my own levity as a person. That being said, the form is still ridiculously volatile, and I apologise for that. So far, The Shades are mostly lyrical, Cocytus is mostly expositive and Luriam is mostly confessional. I would like to keep it that way, but still need to work on their cohesion and how the styles transition. Regardless, if you have any tips, I’m all ears!
The structure of the composition was severely inspired by Jack Leonard’s song “All the Things you Are“, a beautiful song that was a hit during the 1930s in America.
I finally found a practical and pleasing way to put whole compositions into a single image, took me long enough. I’m not very technologically savvy.
This is another free-hander. I haven’t had much time to sit down and actually compose, so I mostly scribble into my notepad throughout the day and I get these results. At least, I hope they aren’t too bad. And thank you for reading, I don’t often thank people who read and do not comment, and it’s not on purpose, I’m just forgetful. Regardless, thank you so much for following the unglamorous journey of a dreamy kid writing poems.
No actual references of any kind were made in this poem. It was mostly free-handed in paper and I did little to no editing when I transcribed it into electronic format. The quality of it is a bit “meh”, but I find it very sincere, and I value sincere poetry above any other kind. I hope you can still connect with it.
A little back, I wrote this highly experimental (and primal) composition called MIRROR, in which two subconscious voices would be displayed continuously until they would collapse together and generate this sense of unifying thoughts.
That poem spawned from my fiddling with the concept of multiple voices in poetry. All my compositions are made to be both read and spoken, therefor, all kinds of sound generation are within the bounds of my poetry.
I spent some time wondering about the possibility of poems meant to be read by separate voices, which can be applied to a variety of unique poetic concepts, as well as compounding lyricism with that expression and generate a form of artistic elation of poetry upon dialogue, both internal and external.
MIRROR is not a good example, since its very primitive and faulty in the groundworks of what this exercise proposes. For the ease of division in structural compositions, I will name the first voice “Archeon” and the second voice “Bareon”, A and B for short (I’m not a smart guy). Any number of voices can be used, but in my experiments, more than two can become volatile and overbearing.
SECOND, A THOUGHT
Proceeding to subdivide the purpose of these mechanisms, I’ve found three definitive usages that result in poetic progression:
1. Repetition (nooverlay)
a. shining locked within a chest of hope, dimming and reckless,
b. buoying docked at a sea of souls, dim and then… lightless.
2. Interrogation (continuity)
a. eyes shut, where is the flame once consuming and bright?
b. not longer here, just ash, in the shade of innocent white.
3. Exposition (overlay)
a. the scent of olive tree…
b. … that olive tree, rooted in gloom…
a. … is it remembrance, is it pain, is it glee?…
b. … is it doom, is it melancholic empathy?…
(Not actual compositions, just simple demonstrations I etched up in a couple of minutes.)
You might be thinking: well, most of these could be composed with a singular voice. Yes, but their poetic momentum rests on the understanding that two separate voices are communicating an unifying symbol, so that symbol is passed through a lens of duality and then translated back into singularity.
In the case of repetition, giving a sensation of weight applied to certain parts of the conclusion. On the example, words like “locked/docked” and “reckless/lightless” double their weight, by means of stressing their permanence, and allowing their scope to encompass more than just the poetic subject, as in, a descent into a lightless reality tangible by all, inspiring the severity of ones perspective.
In the case of interrogation – the most useful of all – we can halve the stressing of the question and place it upon the answer. That bright flame once respiring consumingly? It is no more, now it has fully devoured, it is ash in its innocent form, fertile and renewing, but still a painful memory. Interrogation allows for the continuity of the poetic narrative, by means of easing the transmission of what is truly meant to be retained and what isn’t supposed to be front-line in the skeleton of the given composition. Exposition is rather simple, and I would take mostly as a structural aid more than a duality in transmission. It is meant for internal dialogue, and it was the mechanism utilised on MIRROR. It allows for thoughts to unify in two different fronts, giving a sensation of duality when there doesn’t necessarily exist one, often times its just a case of division. Since verses seem to flow into their counterpart voices, it would be a bit too eerie to read it using two separate whole voices, but two separate tones can be utilised rather well. (more on that another day, I’m also producing another Lab with the usage of classical music tempos in poetry, i.e Alegro, Moderato, so on).
THIRD, A COMPOSITION
I’ve been putting off the publishing of this Lab for a while, attempting to etch decent poems that could ally to this minimal theory, but my time has been very scarce and I haven’t been able to compose anything wholesome enough for presentation. I will, therefor, leave you with MIRROR, so you have a general idea of what exposition looks like, and then create the other two during the week, and hopefully publish them as separate posts connecting to this one.
I’m sorry for the apparent laziness, but I promise that I will deliver!
Not everyone has the honour of living in an award-winning country, or better yet, not everyone considers that an honour. I was born in a small parish with 110 inhabitants just outside Lisbon, and my youth was paved with finding small water streams among fabled stretching woodlands, watching my grandfather plant potatoes all the while leaning on our dogs and watching the verdant sunset sink. I look back fondly at those memories, and my circle of social life was restricted by those hundred familiar faces all into my teenage mists.
When I was a docile and sensitive boy, one thing was generally known, we were an enclave of the modern world, a tender collapse between edging western development and a deep connection to land, humility, poverty, and pain. In the yet-to-explore sacred and scarlet hills of Portugal, we roamed the sun-lands searching for an oasis that spawned the entire rectangle garden planted sea-side. We quested for a beauty that was already there, and after centuries of isolation and regret, we found a rooted longing for days that never came, for an evasive beauty that time did not look kindly upon.
Those were the days of yore, nowadays, the scopes have shifted. Portugal, now a growing and bursting experience of culture and history, the brand new Jurassic Park without deadly dinosaurs, conveniently docked at Europe’s lonely and serene edge, offers a way to mitigate the pains of modern existence at a manageable driving distance. As we now live among kind visitors and explorers, we listen to those praises of beauty. How sunny are our lands, how old our cities, how beautiful our forests and endless our beaches, and above all else, how deep is our sadness.
As I write this humble prose, I can listen to goldcrests chirping atop that peppertree, and at 20:00 there is still clarity outside, the sun still faintly shines, as it tends to. Faint yet enchanting gypsy music booms at the distance, I can still pick apart the variations of the low-voiced man who is singing to the rhythm. I remember being young, the sun shone its golden-hue with all the same brightness, the buildings and asphalt roads vibrated to the heat, the summer cicadas already knew the ancient lyricists before any of us did, and at the sidewalks of this beautiful block of candour we’ve inhabited, I was already sad, already longing. We all were, and we still are.
It’s difficult to pinpoint why we exist this way, but I’ve convinced myself that it’s only a natural consequence of this paradise we’ve created. In these hills where marine order takes form of beautiful composure, what other sadness could we compare it to than our own inner demons.
And that matching pendulum of innate sadness strikes harder every time, painting Portugal more beautiful and we, sadder, abandoned at a seaside beauty created to evaporate.
And Lisbon, my current home, the city-port of poetry and fado, only seems to reflect that ever-so-strongly, as it tries to grip it’s fainting identity while this bombardment of globalised exposition occurs, which it has always done. The only city where walls still cry, those colourful walls that close upon our dreams and limit our solitaire nightmares.
The image above, if carefully examined, displays three differently animated levels distinguishable by their relation to velocity and, by consequence, Time. This animation device has been used to display certain feelings in a much clearer way: her face is animated carefully and slowly, every frame is fluid, to inspire serenity and placidness. Her hair is animated frantically, with frames leaping between animation with little fluidity, alluding to a chaotic exterior and high intensity movement. The background, although blurred, also happens at a time different from the other two layers, presenting a both static and simultaneously – moving – backdrop. This allows for a certain displacement through the fluidity of our space, allowing Art to perforate the emotional human sensors without replicating at all what those sensors are used to, by thematic association. Our world feels much like that of the animation, it constantly moves, yet we cannot fully absorb all it’s evolutions and changes, in turn, accounting for a hollow movement that we can only relay through “mental bookmarks”, like special occurrences, producing a more stop-still version of reality (similar to the one animated above), instead of flowing realistic approach to time.
In fact, Art has a plethora of examples using different composite time frames to convey a sense of “overlook” or “outlander” sentiment among its viewers, mainly present in sensorial arts like music or painting.
To literature – an Art intimately connected with the frugality of time and how it can be controlled within its frames – this device most likely has been used, but never deeply explored. In this first edition of poetry lab, I will attempt to harness my marginal composing experience to translate those planes of time dissonance into the realm of poetry. As I’ve done a good amount of experimental poems in my short time here, I’ve never taken the time to explain the processes or missions behind those experiments, and now I’m headstrong on taking you on my composing journey:
SECOND, A THOUGHT.
First, we need to figure out how to distend time properly within a written line of text. Poetry, by its very sonorific nature, makes this superficially easy by use of verse length and syllabic control:
I dreamt of latent love, yet within, darkness still reigns unkind,(11 words, 15 syllables)
Air to flame, implored by sinuous shadows,(7 words, 11 syllables)
Extinguish their fear to die.(5 words, 7 syllables)
Following an ordered decrescent sound, each verse has the same amount of syllables as the words of the verse that precedes them (11, 15), (7, 11), (5, 7). This, however, inspires a singular timeline instead of multiples ones, giving a sense that time is accelerating and thus, “running out”. But why not the contrary? Why does it not recall time just slowing down? This is annulled by the temporal references in all verses, displayed in a gradient from past (dreamt, implored), to present (extinguish, to die).
Like mentioned above, this does not relay multiple times but instead, just one flowing in-unit but changing exponentially. We can, however, salvage this later when we compose full stanzas by separating their descriptive nature through the usage of this method. So, instead of separating verses according to time, we will separate stanzas according to what line they represent by giving them symbols:
Stanza 1 – first tempo (11, 15) (plane of interior occurrence, introspection, visual devices must appear here)
Stanza 2 – second tempo (7, 11) (plane of exterior sensorial captures, noise, static, distortion and interruption, sound devices must appear here)
Stanza 3 – third tempo (5, 7) (plane of universal awareness, no sensorial, visual or sound devices can appear here, detached information must not contain emotional draws)
This is merely scratching the surface of what this method can produce, as a shift in the structure mid-composition can relay powerful messages of emotional re-focus, or give a sense of expanding/shortening of knowledge at any given point. The main objective here, however, is that the poem is able to speak to itself and the conversation won’t sound too unphased, so we will stick to the good ol’ repetition, by creating one more set of stanzas with same structure, but different in essence.
As the composition is mainly experimental, I will utilise common meanings I’m familiar with for the sake of my mental sanity (and short amount of time per day I have to compose), those of love and solitude in a frugal world where such things are generally devalued:
THIRD, A COMPOSITION.
As demonstrated above, I initially compose the first part of the composition within a relatively ordered and rhymed structure, using the lines written above as a visual guide to building the remaining verses. Although this version partially gets the job done, it’s still rather obscure that frames shift between stanzas, and I attempt a more lax yet word-based second part in an attempt to compensate the rigid/restrictive shape of the first version:
I’ve since let a day pass before writing that second part, as to refresh my information absorption and be less likely influenced by the same recurrent pieces of reception still being digested within (a great advice I’ve accidentally left out of my poetic tips). This second version, although not apparently very different from the first in terms of how it was constructed, manages to convey both the message, the subject and the quest of time much better than the previous, not by means of its structure, but by how words are ordered coupled with how they intertwine, generating a sense of shift from when they fuse and when they don’t (thus, sound shifts).
I must now refine and finish the composition on my own, and publish it similarly to all other poems on the website, but that boring part I intend on doing by myself.
I’m not a professional or academic in this subject, therefore, all conclusions are from my viewpoint and might conflict with certain academic standings out there (although from my research, I’ve found none), but none of this is fact or close to it, I’m just trying to have some fun with words and I hope you’re entertained as well!
PS: Tell me what you think of posts similar to these, I’m planning a bunch more since I have about 20 pages of notes about different composing methods I would like to attempt!