Thursday, January 28, 2010

Iambic Pentameter

I had recently posted what I call my first attempt at Italian sonnet, on one of the groups on Facebook. The poem was titled "A lonely road" (you can check it out here on my blog). And based on the comments and discussion that followed, I realized that it was not exactly a sonnet.

An Italian sonnet is characterized by the following 3 attributes:

1. Form - A sonnet is fundamentally a dialectical construct which allows the poet to examine the nature and ramifications of two usually contrastive ideas, emotions, states of mind, beliefs, actions, events, images, etc., by juxtaposing the two against each other, and possibly resolving or just revealing the tensions created and operative between the two.

2. Rhyming scheme - The Italian sonnet is divided into two sections by two different groups of rhyming sounds. The first 8 lines is called the octave and rhymes as follows:
a b b a a b b a
The remaining 6 lines is called the sestet and can have either two or three rhyming sounds, arranged in a variety of ways:
c d c d c d
c d d c d c
c d e c d e
c d e c e d
c d c e d c

3. Iambic Pentameter - This is another important characteristic of an Italian sonnet. Iambic pentameter is one of many meters used in poetry and drama. It describes a particular rhythm that the words establish in each line. That rhythm is measured in small groups of syllables; these small groups of syllables are called "feet". The word "iambic" describes the type of foot that is used. The word "pentameter" indicates that a line has five of these "feet".
An iambic foot is an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. And a line of iambic pentameter is five iambic feet in a row:

While my original poem did have the first two attributes of an Italian sonnet as mentioned above, the third one was missing i.e. it lacked in an iambic pentameter. The poem had a proper rhyming scheme i.e. abbaabba cdecde. It also had a style wherein the first 8 lines posed a problem while the next 6 bore the solution. However, if you observe the rhythm of this poem, it would not be what you expect from an Italian sonnet. And thats because the number of syllables in each of the lines is different, which ideally should have been 10 per line.

I would like to thank Jaime Birch, Andy Morley and Alan Nettleton for letting me know where I was wrong and helping me out on the usage of iambic pentameter. And based on their suggestion, I have made some quick modifications to my original poem so as to make it sound like a real Italian sonnet in rhythm as well. Though I have made use of a pentameter in the new version, it still isn't iambic.

Here it goes:

Heavenly abode is what they all seek,
Through the blazing hells of fire, pass I must.
The road I walk is laid in thorns and dust.
Though the destination appears so bleak,
In tormenting pain I must neither creak,
Nor waver in desire or carnal lust.
In tempest and rains of doom, those who rust,
Are the ones whose lives, as ever end meek.

His name to my lips seems forever glued
Until to the end of desert I reach,
And where awaiting me stands my reward.
My contented eyes see what they pursued,
Since eterne, what they always did beseech.
Its the beautiful sunset boulevard.

As can be observed from the rhythm of this poem, just one of the lines contains an iambic pentameter, although all contain 10 syllables each. The line is: "The road I walk is laid in thorns and dust"

I guess I still have miles to go before I write a true Italian sonnet.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sepia-toned Photographs

As I open an album of yesteryear,
I come across some faces that look familiar.
Faces smiling in some random pics,
Precious memories caught in those ordinary clicks,
Of those days when we vowed together
That tides of time won’t separate us ever.
Yet walls start growing between us now,
We’ve learned to blame new times somehow.

There’s a photograph of a cozy living room.
Ah, he must also be there one can presume.
He was the one who taught me new ways to live.
With him each ordinary day turned festive.
Together, we used to drink and laugh
To celebrate a raise in salary or a perk,
Or to forget a bad day spent at work.
And now though we live just miles away,
We drift one light year apart each day.

There’s a girl in that pic of shingle beach,
Adorn in a shirt that is color of peach.
A salsa together was our way to get high.
I faithlessly walked to church with her, just to be by her side.
Her lap was where my head always found comfort.
She could recognize each tear in my eyes
even though they stayed as dry as a desert.
And now as her life takes on a new quest,
The best I can do is to wish her all the best.

I make my way to the next photograph,
And I see a face too busy in a hearty laugh.
He’d crack that old joke, and I would smile each time.
If my life is a poem, he has brought all the rhyme.
For all delicious flavors of world he has served,
Or for those feelings of my heart that he so easily observed
That my heart often found understanding too tough,
In this life, I can never be thankful enough.

Faces come and faces go.
But there are those that shall forever glow
In some pictures that were captured by me,
On some photo films, and in my memory.
Some pictures would start ageing with times,
While some would fade away with changing climes.
The ones that shall, however, always stay the same
Are of those, on my heart who have etched their names.

The New World Order

Darkness is distinctly visible in blazing sun.
Whole world seems to be caught in this marathon.
Falsely sanctified Gods being worshipped by millions.
Path of self destruction being chosen by gazillions.
Globe is entirely enclosed in a gloomy mist,
No one minds if existence ceases to exist.
Screams of conscience would keep falling on deaf ears
Until humanity meets its end in not too many years.

Life is eternal, that's what all believed,
But it looks like eternity is short-lived.
A not too distant storm heads straight this way.
The time is ripe when the hunter becomes prey.
Earth trembles when it’s battered; that’s no surprise.
Vengeance is what I see in ocean’s eyes,
And mountains and rivers think alike.
Seasons seem all geared up for a counter strike.

All laws of nature are about to be annulled.
For too long, man has ruled this world.
Its nature's turn to blow his kingdom to shards.
A new world order is on the cards.

Monday, January 18, 2010

In My Sweet Pains I Rot

You tell me love is magical,
And ask me to keep faith,
While my heart takes a leap, and falls again
And I see its burning wraith.
So I dream you in a dream this last time
To let you know of my denial,
That I’ve discovered it all over again,
Love is the reason for all vile.

All life is being pulled out from me
And I’m unsure if I’ll see tomorrow’s sun.
All I’ve got from my unconditional love
Are some scars that shall forever burn,
Like a seven days’ promise
That has turned into a sentence for life,
A love bug’s venom that now flows in me
Or your gentle touch that cuts like knife.

It’s hell that I traverse each day,
Yet somehow it feels like heaven,
It’s bliss to know you’re doing fine;
And in your smile dissolves my pain.
When I see you laugh in joy,
Against my heart ache I strongly rebel.
And born again is my faith.
I tell you love is magical.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


A searing pain each second that ticks,
And a new death each moment -
For all my uncommitted sins
Isn’t this too big a punishment?
While my brain goes numb
And suffers jolts of delirium,
Sand keeps trickling down the glass walls
But only atom by atom.

Ever since you and I had
That cute little conversation,
I am high on you,
And on this freaking emancipation.
The hangover would last long
But it’s the sweetest one alright.
It’s the seven days’ wait though
That kills me day and night.

I wish time could fly away,
Or at least keep its regular pace.
Or a magic wand existed
That could wipe out these agonizing days.
Feels like I'm entirely lost in time.
And each day is a year, it seems.
And I don't know when I'll see you again.
Would that be 17th or '17?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Unbroken Promise

Belligerent are the emotions that confront her today.
Thousand feelings beg her to hear what they have to say.
Whispers in her head scream as she walks the busy street.
Her head spins wild, while numb go her feet.
A perplexed thought crosses her mind each passing moment.
Was it too reckless on her part to be too prudent?
Her mind is too engaged in the ghosts of her insanity,
When she left him all alone in that moment of vanity.

She walks past the street where she last saw him,
When she bid him adieu to pursue her fanciful whims.
He had begged, “My sweet Patricia, don’t leave me in strife.
We’ll get all that you want even after we’re man and wife.”
“Victor, my love”, she’d say, “Make a promise to me
That thou shalt never see me, and I shall never see thee.”
His heart’s strong will was what he had to defy.
It was the wish of his heart throb which he could not deny.

Years had flown by, yet time was standing still,
She mourns each day for the love she killed.
And now, she can’t wait any longer to see him again.
Her heart swept in guilt, her eyes shedding rain,
As she finds him sleeping in peace in that old suburb,
And inscribed on stone the last words from her only love.
“My sweet Patricia, I shall forever keep my word,
I shall someday see you again, but not in this world.”