Sunday, May 3, 2009

Here's an Idea

Since I am sort of tired of moving commas and semi-colons around in my book, I have decided to start writing a new poem, as a way of relaxing. Whatever it turns out to be—short story, epic, tragedy, historical-tragical, comic-historical, pastoral, versatile, or curseable—it's going to be modeled along the lines of Eugene Onegin, by
Alexander Pushkin.

When I say modeled along the lines of Eugene Onegin, I mean I am using the
Pushkinian 14 line sonnet form, AbAbCCddeFFeGG, with a slight variation. Instead of using Pushkin's tetrameter line, I am going to add an extra measure to each line, bringing us into the land of iambic pentameter. It gives me a slightly larger canvas on which to work.

What I would like to do is write one stanza a day for the next month or so and see how it goes. By the end of 30 days, I might have a mess. I might have something else. I can’t say the inaugural sonnet augurs very well for the future, but who am I to argue with what the Muses have given me this morning?

Today as I was clipping my toenails,
I had a startling poetic thought:
Since I have started fabricating tales,
Once I am finished with my toes, I ought
To try to write a story totally in verse,
Like Alexander Pushkin. What’s the worst
Thing which could happen to me, if I do?
I waste a month, while trying to pursue
Another one of my impossible dreams?
I’ve wasted years already, so it seems
A month’s not much a sacrifice to make;
But digging deeper under my big toe
To get a stubborn piece of crud, I go
And stab a capillary by mistake:
Administering a pedicure is not
The time to be developing a plot.

Although a pint of blood will probably prove
Quite indispensable to me later on—
Blood being secondary only to true love
In the success of any work of fiction—
Apart from the sad story of Philoctetes
Composed in 409 BC by Sophocles,
Western literature is rather weak
When it comes to discussing troubled feet.
There is Achilles, yes, and Oedipus
Translates from Ancient Greek as ‘swollen foot’—
But is my toe the basis for a book,
Except for specialists, like my podiatrist,
Dr. Silverman? I cannot say.
He may hate poetry. Well, anyway,

I mention my podiatrist because—
As you have no doubt noticed here so far—
Underneath the sterile square of gauze
Stuck here to stop my bleeding toe—there are—
I hesitate to call them ‘flaws’—a few—
Let’s try the phrase—‘slight changes’—that will do—
Which I have made to Pushkin’s sonnet scheme
Less fatal to the work than they might seem
At first. I’ll add an extra beat per line,
That’s true, I sometimes skip a syllable,
Or place an anapest just where it will
Break up the monotony, like a sketchy rhyme;
But these are minor variations which
It seems ridiculous for us to bitch

About, when I am bleeding, slightly, and
Neither one of us is growing any younger...

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