INFORM POETS – ANACREONTIC VERSE

Sorry for the very late start to the INFORM POETS prompt today. My mother-in-law lost her battle with leukemia last night and the day had gotten away from me. I sincerely apologize. Walt.

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Sara has picked up the gauntlet and has provided an insightful explanation of Anacreontic Verse. We feature it as this week’s poetic form offering!

Says Sara:

Anacreontic verse is an Ancient Greek lyrical form, consisting of 20- to 30-line poems with three to five syllables per line.

Developed by 6th century B.C. poet Anacreon, Anacreontic verse is one of many Ancient Greek forms that emerged during the height of the dramatic, musical, artistic, and poetic culture. The poems revolved around themes of love, infatuation, revelry, festivals, and observations of everyday life.

Rhyme:
None specific

Structure:
20 to 30 lines, three to five syllables per line

Measure/Beat:
Dimeter

Common Themes:
Love, infatuation, revelry, festivals (Dionysian), and observations of everyday life

Other Notes:

  1. Familiar, mostly enjoyable subjects
  2. Popular as spoken word entertainment
  3. Short and energetic lines

Cultural inspiration.

Anacreontic verse was inspired by a variety of cultural and occasional supernatural undertones, often paying homage to Dionysus, the Greek God of Wine. Also known for other lyric poetry forms, Anacreon found a structure to match his quick, high-impact delivery.

 From Prometheus Bound
~Aeschylus (c. 535-450 BC)

Spasm! Again
what manias

beat my brain
hot i’m hot
where’s the fire?
here’s horsefly
His Arrowhead
not fire forged
but sticks: heart
stuck with fear
kicks at my ribs
eye balls whirl
spirally wheeled
by madness, madness
stormblasted I’m
blown off course
my tongue my tiller
it’s unhinged, flappy
words words thrash
dashed O! at doom
mud churning up
breaking in waves

Modern interpretations.

A more modern example of Anacreontic verse shows that, no matter the century in which it’s written, classic subjects with Dionysian undertones cleave best to the form:

Spirit Mischief 
~Robert Yehling (1959- )

Two spirits danced
on mountaintops

adorned with snow,
flower patches
and robes of stars
covering their
naked bodies
while the moonlight
cast her glory,
donning their madness,
dancing slowly
across the sky
releasing scents
of evergreen.
Crag rock, a mouse
spooked by shadow
of a white goat
that hoofed upward
when the spirits
called out his name
and offered food
only dancers,
stars, moonlight and
the cold fever
of the goat’s eyes
would recognize.

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MORE NOTES: (Yes, I found it necessary to post more notes! 😉 )

Apollonian and Dionysian

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Drunks (Bacchus’ Triumph) by Diego Velázquez, 1629.

The Apollonian and Dionysian is a philosophical and literary concept, or dichotomy, based on certain features of ancient Greek mythology. Many Western philosophical and literary figures have invoked this dichotomy in critical and creative works.

In Greek mythology, Apollo and Dionysus are both sons of Zeus. Apollo is the god of reason and the rational, while Dionysus is the god of the irrational and chaos. The Greeks did not consider the two gods to be opposites or rivals, although often the two deities were interlacing by nature.

The Apollonian is based on reason and logical thinking. By contrast, the Dionysian is based on chaos and appeals to the emotions and instincts. The content of all great tragedy is based on the tension created by the interplay between these two.

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SARA’S VERSE:

Starlight, Star Bright

Rose Festival
Starlight Parade
Saturday night
Theme of parade-
be something
other than yourself
Holding hands
Marching bands
Ain’t it grand!
Flood-lit costumes
Trolley car floats
Homemade boats
FrightTown wins–
A zombie
apocalypse
From chairs lined up,
people cheer,
warm beer,
ninety-eight
degrees

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WALTER’S VERSE:

WHERE PASSIONS LAND

The sun-baked sand
where our feet stand
offers the perfect
point of view
for you and I
to witness the sun-
set in the distance.
I chance a kiss,
the sip of bliss
from your soft lips.
Our silhouette
unseen by eyes
sneaking a peek
of our tryst.
In the evening mist
I breathe through you
and you breathe through me,
in this moment
Heaven sent.
Whispered words of love
and the crash of waves
are the sounds we hear,
along with heartbeats,
strong and clear
with one conjoined sound.
We have found treasure
in pleasures we bring,
it makes our hearts sing
On the sun-baked sand,
where passions land.

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016

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