Pippa Kay

Poetry

The poems on this page are mostly experiments using a variety of poetry forms.

 

This uses the first person plural point of view. A small street is the "we" and "our". The narrator speaks for everyone in the street.

 

GONE

 

We know each other in our dead end street

And hardly any strangers come down here.

On Saturdays we mow the lawn; our neat

and tidy yards create an atmosphere

of calm and harmony in our houses.

 

We’re good friends and neighbours, but what goes on

here is everybody’s business. We’re wary

of newcomers in this street.  What grows on

our fences isn’t gossip but thyme and rosemary,

and happy families in our houses.

 

We worried when poor old Harry got sick

and died.  His only son, we thought, would not

maintain his home. He leased it pretty quick.

We felt so sad when removalists brought

their van and tramped on Harry’s garden.

 

Unwatered, Harry’s precious plants all died.

His garden gnomes were tossed into the bin.

His son just didn’t care, he had no pride.

We watched as foreign students moved in.

Their rusty cars camped on Harry’s garden.

 

We knew each other in our dead-end street.

Now strangers live amongst us and we hear

their noisy parties, their music’s odd beat.

Our anger rules.  Gone is the atmosphere

of calm and harmony in our houses.

 

 

 

What is a Villanelle?

 

It has 19 lines with two repeating rhymes (a, b) and 2 refrains (A1, B1).  Five tercets followed by a quatrain. Thus:

A1 b A2

a b A1

a b A2

a b A1

a b A2

a b A1 A2

 

Example:

 

The Snowcave by Pippa Kay

 

They're in a snowcave, buried deep

Four young snowboarders have been lost

While parents pray and wait and weep

 

They'll never wake from this deep sleep

In quilts of snow and sheets of frost

They're in a snowcave, buried deep

 

In helicopters searchers sweep

For buried heat, the snow criss-crossed

While parents pray and wait and weep

 

Four snowboarders on slopes so steep

Deceived by whiteness, doublecrossed

They dug a snowcave, buried deep

 

Into their limbs the cold will creep

Their cave becomes a grave of frost

While parents pray and wait and weep

 

No heat is found, no warmth to keep

Bodies alive.  Four sons are lost

They're in a snowcave, buried deep

While parents pray and wait and weep.

 

This poem won first prize in the Wollondilly Regional Fellowship of Australian Writers Traditional Rhyming Poetry 2001.

What is a sestina?

 

It is a poem of 6 x 6 line verses followed by a tercet (3 line verse).

End words are repeated in each verse following this pattern:

1. A, B, C, D, E, F

2. F, A, E, B, D, C

3. C, F, D, A, B, E

4. E, C, B, F, A, D

5. D, E, A, C, F, B

6. B, D, F, E, C, A

7. Tercet (3 lined stanza) using all 6 final words, 2 per line.

 

 

 

MARBLES - A Sestina.

 

1.

On my knees in the dust with a bag of marbles   (A)

I throw them into a circle, so I can play    (B)

a game with my grandsons. I want them to have a go.  (C)

The marbles glisten in sunlight like eyes in the dark.  (D)

I choose my favourite cat’s eye for my shooter.   (E)

The boys have scabbed knees. Mine are old.   (F)

 

2.

My arthritic thumb won’t flick. I play like an old   (F)

man, even though I’ve got the best marble   (A)

(old glass, perfectly round and a straight-shooter). (E)

I think it’s size and weight will help me play.   (B)

Our crouching figures form dark    (D)

shadows around the circle as I have my go.  (C)

 

3.

I want to teach these boys before I go   (C)

about games we use to play, the old   (F)

simple things we did. When it got dark   (D)

we’d pack away our “keepers”, the marbles  (A)

we’d won, then after tea, we’d play   (B)

cops and robbers with sticks for shooters.  (E)

 

4.

We’d take turns at heroes or villains. Shooters  (E)

didn’t kill or maim. The cop’d aim his stick and go  (C)

“Bang!” and the robber’d fall down and play  (B)

dead. No bullets or bullies in the old   (F)

days. Indoors, we’d swap football cards and marbles,  (A)

invent make-believe games and read books after dark. (D)

 

5.

The city’s no longer safe, the night sky’s not so dark. (D)

I’d like to show these boys a real shooter,  (E)

not a gun but a star, before I lose my marbles,  (A)

and give them what they wish for, so that when I go (C)

deaf and demented, and waste away in an old  (F)

folks home, I’ll have visitors who know how to play (B)

 

6.

proper games. Most kids today want to play  (B)

on ipads and computers. Games too violent and dark. (D)

Instead of scabbed knees these boys are growing old (F)

men’s thumbs with RSI. Their electronic shooters (E)

are armed with flashing bombs. Better if, before I go, (C)

I teach them how to flick their thumbs at marbles.   (A)

 

7.

In the dirt and sunshine we’ll play a game of marbles.  (B, A)

We’ll flick our shooters and have some old-  (E, F)

fashioned fun, before I go, before it gets too dark.  (C, D)