Monday, 9 May 2016

Life to Death: A poetry post

In my last round up of my favourite podcasts of the moment (here), I mentioned The History of English, which, at that point, I was binge listening to. Sadly I've caught up on it now, and am having to cope with a drip feed of podcasts instead! Anyway, there is lots of inspirational stuff in that podcast. And one aspect led to my writing this poem.

English, as you'll know, is a smashing language for poetry, because we have so very many words, giving us lots of nuances of meaning. However, it was not always thus. When the Angles and their chums first invaded Britain, and settled here, there were not enough words to have good enough rhyming poems, and yet, before writing, stories were remembered and recited, so instead of rhyming poets would use alliteration. They would take the dominant sounds at the end of a line of a poem to use in the beginning of the next. This (like rhyming), is a good mnemonic device for the person reciting. 

Nowadays, of course, alliteration is great - I used it lots in my poem about tattoos (here), and also a bit in my poem about a friend's death (here), but we have lots of words too, so rhyming can be fun. So I've put together the idea of keeping the sound at the beginning of the next line and rhyming for this poem. It's about death (again) because I'm a raging goth!

Life to Death

Says Life to Death: "I will rail;
"I will wail, I will scream, I will fight.
"My right is to battle and strive,
"stay alive, though time be ungentle."

Says Death to Life: "It's not you.
"You do what you must to feel free.
"It's me that would sever the line,
"end the time that I've walked by your side."

"You must bide!" Life insists. "I'm not done."
"I have won." Death admits. "I decide."

© Cara L McKee 9/5/16

This gorgeous gravestone is from Alloway Auld Kirk (famously featured in the tale of Tam O'Shanter) near Ayr. I shall be down that way at Burns' Cottage on Friday night reading my poems if you're in the area. More details on the night can be found here.

I'm sharing this on the Prose for Thought linky, and on the What I'm Writing linky, which is currently vacationing at Nicky Young Writes. Check them out for lots more gems.

What I'm supposed to be doing is working on my Rose book, but I'm finding lots of really important things to do instead... Like planting marigolds, and having a sore shoulder that's really getting me down!

Prose for Thought  Writing Bubble