Friday, August 8, 2014

WELCOME TO POETRY FRIDAY



Pashupatinath on the Bagmati River in Kathmandu - Bob Ray photo
TERZA RIMA TRIAL

A poem has bubbled up from my visit to Nepal last year at just this time. In Kathmandu, we visited Pashupatinath, the most scared Hindu temple, where we were only allowed outside. It was the first time we had witnessed cremation, which takes place around the clock on the banks of the sacred Bagmati River. It was a somber experience and Bob tried to be sensitive with his photography.

My first poetic attempt was in free verse. Yesterday I tried it in a form completely new to me. At first I got the rhyme scheme wrong and had to go back and fiddle with the lines, so I think some parts seem forced. And I think it came out in tetrameter, not pentameter, but maybe that’s okay. 

So I’m sharing my draft of my first Terza Rima which I read about in J. Patrick Lewis’s Poetry Calisthenics, posted on Poetry at Play, and further researched on Poets.org. Feel free to comment, help me out, make suggestions. I’d love your feedback.

Thanks to Mary Lee who is hosting the Roundup today at A Year of Reading.


Cremation pyre - Bob Ray photo
Pashupatinath Temple

On the shore above Bagmati
Shrouded bodies rest on stone pyres.
Monkeys chatter a litany.

Kindling smokes into flame and fire,
crackling like a snappy chorus
decked out in marigold attire.

I have known cremation minus
incense or wood smoke in the wind.
My dear ones’ ashes knew no fuss.

They have joined the soil or commend
themselves to dance with ship’s bows. 
We’ll meet and mingle in the end,

because now your temple allows
no beef eaters, although my God
was first warmed by the breath of cows.

       ~ Joyce Ray - All Rights Reserved

13 comments:

  1. I had to find you in the comments, Joyce, & am happy I did. My first response is what a sweet experience (not in the slangy sense), and your poem reflects some of that commingling that happened, and the response to the rejection too. Interesting what we all believe is important, is vital in our lives. Also, thank you for the poetry links above. I don't know those poetry 'help' pages.

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    1. I love it when a new experience finds expression in words. I think it helps me process what's new to me. Have fun with Lewis's Poetry Calisthenics!

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  2. Thank you for this snapshot into another culture!

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    1. Thank YOU, Mary Lee for rounding up the poetry. Best wishes as you begin a new school year.

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  3. because now your temple allows
    no beef eaters, although my God
    was first warmed by the breath of cows.


    What a striking final stanza. Well done!

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  4. I love the compaction in your poem, Joyce! It feels dense and rich.

    Like Diane I was struck by the last stanza. Nowhere does it feel forced to me.

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  5. Hi Joyce Ray, these are my favourite lines:
    They have joined the soil or commend
    themselves to dance with ship’s bows.
    We’ll meet and mingle in the end

    - it must have been such a memorable trip. Beautiful.

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    1. Thanks, Myra. We had an unplanned (airline mistake) overnight in Singapore last August. I wish I had remembered about you!

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  6. Such vivid imagery. Those marigolds.... thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Irene. Marigolds are plentiful in Nepal.

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  7. Gorgeous poem, Joyce. Someday I will visit all these amazing places I've been introduced to in poetry. = )

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  8. What an incredible experience that must have been! Your last stanza makes such an impact.

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    1. Thanks for dropping by, Michelle!

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Comments welcome.