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Poem: "In the Midst" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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.

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10 comments or Leave a comment
corivax From: corivax Date: May 13th, 2009 05:58 am (UTC) (Link)
I really like this one!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 13th, 2009 06:50 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm pleased with how it turned out, and the picture is such an inspiration.
flutterbychild From: flutterbychild Date: May 13th, 2009 10:35 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thank you!

Thank you!
flutterbychild From: flutterbychild Date: May 13th, 2009 10:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Yay! I'm glad this one was sponsored, since I cannot afford to do so... Oh, and please let people know that that the painting "In the Midst of Joy, We Cry" is available for purchase here, if they are so inclined.
lizamanynames From: lizamanynames Date: May 14th, 2009 11:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thi is so beautiful! And I quite like the kentron scheme - I might like to try my hand at it.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 15th, 2009 02:13 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

By all means, try it out. If you do, and you feel like sharing the results, I'd love to see what you come up with.
fayanora From: fayanora Date: May 16th, 2009 08:19 am (UTC) (Link)
I once invented a poetry form that was similar to a limerick. Lemme see if I can dig it up... *wanders off*

Ah, here's a sample:

“Janus Lost His Contact Lenses”
By = Opus Van De Oplicter (My pseudonym when writing silly and/or nonsense poems)

There once was a man from the stars,
Not quite Sirius, a bit to the left;
Who liked to play tag with his scars,
For that was his burden to heft.

They'd slide and they'd scoot,
And dance, scream, and play,
And they'd run all aboot,
Every night and all day...

And though he was pained,
And quite ill at ease,
Whenever it rained,
He climbed in the trees.

Sometimes toy soldiers fight in make-believe wars,
For no one can rightly shut all the mind's doors.

I vaguely remember a better example, but I can't find it right now. Anyway, here's the breakdown:

Normal limerick is like this:


My new form is:





Aha! I found the better example:

“The Mutant Child of Luimneach and Petrarchan”
By = Opus Van De Oplicter

There once was an outcaste from France,
And his wife Marie le Bourgeois;
Who both liked to get into pants,
Blouses, shoes, undies, and bras.

When asked why he dressed,
Both he and his wife;
In their shared Sunday best,
When it caused them such strife...

He replied with derision,
And a sneer on his face;
"Tis my decision,
And is not your place!"

But just before leaving, he looked back askance,
And replied, "Ballet dancers must stunningly dance!"

Just to check... yup, same rhyme scheme.

And I'm pretty sure the title of that poem is related to the poem's form. Lemme look that stuff up... okay, so "Luimneach" is an alternate spelling/Irish pronunciation of Limerick, and "Petrarchan" is apparently a kind of sonnet. Which is a case of "gods only knows how I thought of this," because I never paid that much attention in school to poetry forms, preferring simple ABAB and couplets or (the horror!) free verse (again with "The Horror!"). I only got interested in rhyming patterns later in life. I also don't know shit about things like iambic pentameter, I just always write poetry entirely by ear - by how it sounds to me. I call it "flow."

I still don't have a name for this ABAB CDCD EFEF GG rhyming pattern. Maybe Luimnechan? Nor do I remember how this rhyme pattern relates to sonnets.
fayanora From: fayanora Date: May 16th, 2009 08:34 am (UTC) (Link)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 16th, 2009 04:05 pm (UTC) (Link)


That's an amusing poem, and an interesting form. Thank you for sharing.
fayanora From: fayanora Date: May 18th, 2009 01:30 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: *laugh*

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