Coming late to the party

is rather a habit with me. Different drummer, out of goose-step, etc.

I’ve just delved into the thread Howard started at PFFA about sevenlings. And I’m thinking the form appeals to me.

(Just so you know, it’s the middle of the night. Early morning, to be precise, but I fell asleep on the living room couch at around 10:30, and woke two hours ago, and am still awake, half-floating in that peculiar dark silence that makes anything possible. Hence the interest in sevenlings.)

I’m not much of one for forms, as people who’ve been around this blog a lot will remember, especially the kinds of forms that turn into trends (villanelles, ghazals, triolets, the lot). My favourite forms are blank verse, the satirical quatrains mastered by Eliot, and Italian sonnets. Couplets irritate me unless they’re in humourous verse (you can tell that Pope and Dryden are beyond my ken). Haiku had better be written by a master. All those French forms seem to fail in English, unless you’re Thomas or Frost. I like forms that break expectations, like what Keats did to the ballad in “La Belle Dame Sans Merci”, or what Eliot did to the quatrain and to blank verse in The Waste Land (the basic forms are there, but “freed”). I tried to write a Julain during NaPo, and half-made it.

But the concept of sevenlings appeals to me. I think it’s the writing in threes, and the mystery.

Here, then, is one attempt.

You dream of slips, slits, buttonholes.
An Atwood poem, an unhooked eye,
a big bed growing cold.

Three things you’ll do before you die:
unsheath the knife, unplug the hole,
write blood-poems on the sky —

and close the bleeding eye.


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