simple adding and subtracting

January 28, 2010 at 6:22 pm | Posted in australian poetry, poetry, sheer selfindulgence, writing | 12 Comments

last year i took away a word ‘gravity’
.I’m not so sure that was a good idea
now. I think I will add a few like ‘eucalypt’.
It looks like an anagram which as a tanka began,

(I like the way in this version ‘.I’m’ sits directly above ‘now.’ which makes a small poem inside the larger poem. A tanka officially has a structure. The number of syllabubbles in each line is supposed to be, 5, 7, 5, 7, 7. Although it should be noted that the difference in the basic structure of Japanese and English raises the question of whether these syllable restrictions have much meaning. There are some who suggest the idea or the mood of forms like tanka and haiku are more important than syllable counting. Anyway, that is a long discussion, it has been going on for as long as I have been around. Here is the original poem, changed a little to fit a formal tanka structure. It is interesting to me that the central line is like a version of the tiny poem contained in the first version.)

Last year took away
a word ‘gravity’ not so
sure that was a good

idea now i think i

will add a few like eu ca
lypt looks like an anagram
which as a tanka began



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  1. ‘Squires removed gravity and was left with levity.
    Aletha took his gravity and was left with drapery.’

    I love your full-stop beginning the 2nd sentence, which looks like it is under the influence of gravity and a bit sad. But I’m sure it cheered up on seeing the inclusion of eucalypt, which is a mighty fine word in deed and sounds like the hoofs of passing horses. Have I told you recently how much I love your poetry.

  2. Interesting. Felt compelled to read both of these numerous times. Mark of a good poem to me. There’s something there that I cannot quite articulate. Sign of a really good poem to me. The last stanza is especially enigmatic in a good way.

  3. I always take the syllable counts as upper limits rather than strict rules, as you say there’s too much difference between Japanese and English for them to really matter in English.

    I like your poem, both versions

  4. What a fascinating way to look at poems’ words, up and down instead of just left to write, like another language, one of the subconscious, that shows up in both your versions. What a great way to free associate.

  5. yay more great work 🙂

  6. two amazing, amazingly different pomes with commentary – yr generosity is legend

  7. I will give Squires back his gravity, as I find that drapery is enough. And I’m glad he’s adding words because if there’s anyone to whom I would want to have custody of English it would trustingly be Squires.

  8. […] interesting and playful thoughts about translation of cross-cultural metrical requirements in this POST. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Nov 2,2009 Rapture first, Anticrist revealed […]

  9. I remember when you took away gravity! Seeing that reference is like seeing an old friend! AH Squires.

  10. lypt on it’s on without eu(rope) or ca(lifornia)…very shakespearian, could be someone who just finished a cup of wine or suceeded in telling a joke at another’s expense.

    In Italian they are two:

    thought of this poem yesterday when someone said that in dialect they call them “calipsi”.

    nice to have the poem still on line. Thank you.

  11. […] Inimitable and wondrous poet Paul Squires of blog gingatao died two years ago on this day at the age of 46 (1963-2010). He once blogged about removing the word gravity from his lexicon – a decision which may have held more weight than we all realised. […]

  12. […] proceeding to predicate it with the it that my dream forgot for an OK! A lionlike […]

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