Sunday, April 30, 2017

Rik George writes

First Quatrain 

My scribbled verses are written down with zest. 
I offer them to all the world from west 
To east in all their metric variety 
And you may choose the one you like the best.

The weather gurus promise us 
Grey skies and a threat of rain tonight.
We welcome the wet despite the cold
It brings, and the briefer time of light

We’ll have because the sun is hid 
Behind the clouds spread out across
The welkin. Dark the day ahead,
The gurus say; the sun shall lose

The power to warm the earth and sea. 
The moon as well will hide its face
Behind the clouds and dripping rain
Until dry weather resumes its place.
 paintings of Shore at Low Tide ,  Rainy Weather ,  near Trouvil by
 Shore at Low Tide, Rainy Weather, near Trouville -- Eugène Boudin


  1. Trouville-sur-Mer is a commune in Calvados (named after the calva dorsa ["bare backs"], the two sparsely vegetated rocks in the Baie de la Seine, part of the English Channel), one of the 93 original departments created in 1790, during the French Revolution, when it was carved from a part of the former province of Normandie. A fishing village, it was connected by rail to Paris in 1863, making the Côte Fleurie (Flowery Coast) reachable by the city's elite in only six hours and allowing Napoleon III's half brother Charles Auguste Louis Joseph (duc de Morny) to develop neighboring Deauville into a prominent resort area. Coco Chanel opened her first boutique in Deauville, in 1913, where she introduced deluxe casual clothes suitable for leisure and sport, constructed from humble fabrics such as jersey and tricot (at the time primarily used for men's underwear). Much of Marcel Proust's seven-volume "À la recherche du temps perdu" ("In Search of Lost Time," though known primarily in English as "Remembrance of Things Past") [1913-1927] was set in Deauville. Reflecting the disparate socioeconomic statuses of the two communes, the joke among the locals is that a wealthy bourgeoisie Frenchman would keep his wife in Deauville and his mistress in Trouville.

  2. A quatrain is a stanza (a complete poem) consisting of four lines. Of the 15 possible rhyme schemes, the most traditional and common are AAAA (shairi, or Rustavelian quatrain); AABB (introduced in English by Geoffrey Chaucer), and ABAB (which came into prominence in late 16th-Century English poetry and became fashionable in the 17th in heroic poems by William Davenant and John Dryden). In the 13th century Giacomo da Lentini invented the sonnet, which structurally comprises three quatrains followed by a final couplet. Chinese zǐyè gē (Midnight Songs poetry), arranged into four sections (for the four seasons) consisting of regular five-character lines with each quatrain formed from a pair of rhymed couplets, was written in the 4th century by "Lady Midnight," an epoymus courtesan (though probably a collection by various poets) and was later imitated by Li Bai and others. Qiyan jueju, the most common form of classical Chinese poems (kanshi), consisted of four phrases each of seven Chinese characters, and both rhyme and rhythm were key elements, though rhymes did not necessarily fall at the end of the phrase; known in Japan as shichigon-zekku, they were the standard form of shigin (Japanese chanted poetry). The ruba'i (plural rubaiyat) quatrain was a particularly widespread verse form, best known through the poetry of Omar Khayyám (as translated into English by Edward FitzGerald). The 16th-century prophecies of Michel de Nostredame ("Nostradamus") were composed as quatrains. Various hymns employ specific forms, such as the common meter, long meter, and short meter. The 10th-century englyn (plural englynion) was a 30-syllable Welsh and Cornish quatrain form that employed quantitative metres (involving the counting of syllables), a repeating pattern of consonants and accent in each line, and rigid patterns of rhyme and half-rhyme; Canadian novelist Robertson Davies claimed that the form was derived inscriptions on Roman tombs and insisted that the proper form had to have four lines (the first one with 10 syllables, then 6, and the last 2 with 7), the 10th syllable of the first line must either rhyme or be in assonance with the middle of the second line, and the last lines must rhyme with the first rhyme in the first line, though the 3rd or 4th line must rhyme on a weak syllable, as in his "The Old Journalist":
    He types his laboured column--weary drudge!
    Senile, fudge and solemn;
    Spare, editor, to condemn
    These dry leaves of his autumn.


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