May 12th, 2009


Poem: "In the Midst"

Here is a poem from the May 5, 2009 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by this painting by flutterbychild and sponsored by minor_architect.

EDIT 5/13/09: The painting "In the Midst of Joy, We Cry" is now for sale here.

The form was inspired by several other repeating/interlocking forms, and it works like this:

The two refrains, marked "A" and "B," set the rhymes. Other lines rhyming with them are marked "a" and "b." The verses are quatrains, always with a 3:1 ratio between the two rhymes, but the arrangement sequence varies. Both refrains begin the first verse; A begins the second verse; B begins the third verse; and both conclude the final verse but in reverse order (BA). The tight rhyme scheme thus contrasts with the shifting structure.

I couldn't think of a name for the form, so I posed that as a question to my donors. The winning name was kentron, submitted by minor_architect. She explains:

I'm leaning toward the Greek word kentron (κέντρον) or some variant thereof. It's the basis for the Latin word centrum, "center." This seems like a good description of your poetic form since it stands in the center of the three other forms you mentioned (Mirrored Refrain, Rondel, Villanelle). Plus, it's a nice play on the title of the first poem you used it for!

In the Midst

A     In the midst of joy, we cry.
B     In the midst of sorrow, we laugh.
a     Each “hello” brings a “goodbye.”
a     By ones and twos, ravens fly.

A     In the midst of joy, we cry.
b     The tree is cut to make the staff.
a     Our hearts bloom scarlet, defy
a     All frosts, and reach for the sky.

B     In the midst of sorrow, we laugh.
a     Our eyes are wet, our cheeks dry.
b     Our days are filled with wheat and chaff.
b     Endurance is our epitaph.

a     The clouds roll in, dark and high.
a     “This too shall pass,” elders sigh.
B     In the midst of sorrow, we laugh.
A     In the midst of joy, we cry.