Thursday, June 15, 2017

Convergence


  Once I finished “Light” in March, my queue was finally empty. So I found myself looking in a folder I long ago named “Backburner” to see what was there. This is the folder where I put files for poems that I started working on, but eventually abandoned for one reason or other. Upon reviewing its contents, I decided the folder didn’t contain anything of interested to me. Inside that folder is another one named “Altogether Abandoned.” In there I found a few old ideas sitting in digital limbo. One was titled “hybridanelle—original marriage commemoration attempt.” I only vaguely recalled what that might have looked like, so I opened it.

  The first 13 lines of this hybridanelle were already written. I tried to think of why I abandoned the poem, and then I remembered. It didn’t really feel like the marriage I was entering into. So I scrapped it and composed “Matrimony” instead, modeled after hurricane Katrina. Much more fitting for my first marriage. The first 13 mystically abstract lines of this unfinished poem were actually more fitting for my current marriage. However, there’s just no way I could re-commemorate it to my second (and this time for real) marriage. My wife deserves completely original poems, such as “Wild Cherry,” written a couple years—and not that many poems—ago.

  So why bring this out of the mothballs? Well, I liked the language of these first 13 lines. I didn’t actually think I could make it work as a full hybridanelle poem, but I thought of this concept of life as a stream and streams converging into one another as they move through the fields of existence, and I decided I’d like to give it a try. So, no longer a marriage commemoration poem—just a poem inspired by the notion of convergent lives, hence the title:

    Convergence


       Consciousness emerged in swirls of color.
          The pliant void composed a shifting stream,
      an ever-changing song of rippling texture.
   Awareness rose and surged in subtle shades of light,
     searching through confusion for companionship and trust
         eventually to join another stream for life.
           Two channels merged to share a mutual course,
          brought to flow as one by karmic forces.
       The pliant void composed a shifting stream,
     singing like a river that curves throughout the night,
    swelled with faint reflections of a darkness steeped in stars.
       Awareness rose and surged in subtle shades of light,
            sent before the hidden crush of pressures
         en route to mingle matters of the soul.
     Brought to flow as one by karmic forces,
       each turbid swell of dream converged and realized
           harmony beyond the scope of individual strains.
              Eventually to join another stream for life,
             each flood progressed with all its sense of self
          through wooded solitudes and desert places
      en route to mingle matters of the soul.
 Condensed from engrammatic vapors, recondite,
     elements of being coalesced until in streams
         awareness rose and surged in subtle shades of light
             amid the grassy sprawl of open spaces
          beneath the floating glow of moonlit clouds
     through wooded solitudes and desert places
  down long cascades past deep brown pools—where lithe
      recollection’s slender shadow below the surface stirs—
            eventually to join another stream for life.
                Like soft white rays refracted through high mists,
           consciousness emerged in swirls of color
        beneath the floating glow of moonlit clouds,
    an ever-changing song of rippling texture
that shimmered down from realms of dream, so faint and slight,
    time held no form and had no bearing until from out this trance
      awareness rose and surged in subtle shades of light,
           eventually to join another stream for life.

  This, my 22nd hybridanelle, was a bear to compose. As I suspected, the refrains used in the first 13 lines were not easily remolded into fresh expressions. It also took me a good while to figure out what I was doing with the meter and end-line schemes. There’s one scheme that doesn’t use end-line prosody all, but related concepts, such as “color” and “texture,” “course” and “stream,” “pressures” and “forces,” and a few more. Pretty interesting.

  The meters, it turns out, switch between pentameters, hexameters and heptameters. Being a bit out of practice, I actually found it difficult to wrap my brain around this complexity, and I kept forgetting to double-check and make sure I’m following the correct pattern. This gave me some insights into why poetry took a 135 degree turn toward gushy chopped prose a couple centuries ago. It can be bloody difficult, and a lot of times the end result is just not what you were hoping for.

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