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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ronsarian Ode

Ronsardian Ode
The Ronsardian ode (named after Pierre de Ronsard 1524-1585) is the only kind of ode that specifies a particular rhyming scheme - ababccddc, with syllable counts of 10, 4, 10, 4, 10, 10, 4, 4, 8. 
In the present rather windy economic climate, I thought an owed might be appropriate.

Owed to the Bank

I rue the day when I picked up the phone
(Connected then)
And asked them to advance me a small loan.
Never again!
The moment the transaction was arranged,
The pattern of my entire life was changed.
More than I’d guessed,
The interest
Mounts up. I must have been deranged.

Eleven thousand pounds I owe, they say.
That’s quite a debt.
I swear I’ll pay it back to them one day,
But not just yet.
Meanwhile I need a place to lay my head,
A jug of wine perhaps, a loaf of bread.
Then there’s my wife...
For normal life
Can’t stop because I’m in the red.

I’ve hardly slept since this nightmare began.
I lie awake,
Find fatal flaws in every single plan
I try to make -
But last night all my ideas seemed to gel.
I’ll find another job; all will be well.
A banking post
Will pay the most.
Why’s that? It’s not too hard to tell.

Ah, life as a teller. It's a tempting thought. I think there should probably be a fourth stanza, but as yet there isn't. Sorry.
I bought a book of Ronsard’s selected poems, and it didn’t include a single Ronsardian ode. So some further research may be called for.

Thanks to Bob Newman for his wonderful Volecentral resource site.

My example poem

Ode to a Creek        (Ronsarian Ode)

The little creek was built to irrigate
so men could farm.
Thus, daily men would rise to raise some gate
when days were warm.
Those summer days the creek would draw the  boys
away from practiced games and silly toys
to share the breeze
with brush and trees
that lined the creek, contained their noise.

The larger boys had tied a swinging rope
on which we played
and dropped to take our daily bath sans soap,
quite unafraid.
When swing and drop became at last mundane
up to that branch we'd boldly climb again
into two feet
it seemed so neat,
we bore our scratches with disdain.

One fall they warned we could not swim nor fish
White poison flowed
and fish preceded it; to live their wish.
Death was bestowed
on parasites and all the mossy growth.
But all the neighbor boys I knew were loath
to think them right
when deadly white
killed life and our short season both.

When winter came a fragile sheet of ice
made young boys bold
for they could walk across it once or twice
when it was cold.
They'd taunt the older boys and wouldn't care
how fast were bigger kids who'd chase them there.
The small ones knew
just what to do;
The bigs fell through most anywhere.

I cannot tell now where that creek had been;
growth needs, I guess.
New roads exist that hadn't been there then,
such is progress.
That creek's as gone as are my boyhood years.
but still the memories of it endears.
It served its roles
and other goals
before it bowed and disappeared.

© Lawrencealot - April 15, 2014

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