Thursday, March 31, 2016

My armour is cold

By THLaird Colyne Stewart, March AS 50 (2016)

I cannot fight, my gear is cold,
I feel my age, I feel so old,
Today was tough, I am so tired,
My armour needs to be rewired,
My leg is sore, so is my hip,
My sword has lost its thrusting tip,
I just am not in fighting mood,
I recently ate too much food,
I want to talk to other folk,
I have no drive to slash and poke,
My fighting clothes are damp and wet,
They smell of month old event sweat,
My axe is blunt, my helm all rust,
My shield is laden down with dust,
I feel a cold just coming on,
I cannot breath through deaf’ning yawn,
I have no tape to make repairs,
I did not bring my underwears,
My cup is sitting on the steps,
So little strength in my biceps…
A glare from knight puts all to rest
I armour up and do my best.

Written as an escondich which was an Occitan genre of poetry about excuses. Bertran de Born (1140s – c. 1215) wrote the only extant example of this genre known as Le m’escondisc (“He Protests His Innocence to a Lady”).

What Honour’s Wrought

By THLaird Colyne Stewart, March AS 50 (2016)

My lady I have won for thee.
On the field of chivalry
I took no knee.
I frayed into the anarchy
Of battle’s plea
And there I won it all for thee,
My lady.

My lord you won it not for me.
I did not see chivalry;
I saw your glee;
You take more blows to fell than tree.
You took the key
Of my bount’ous heart’s love for thee;
So beastly.

My lady it was destiny
That drove my sword’s gluttony.
I took no knee
To show your honour’s dignity.
Could I foresee
That my actions were not worthy
My lady?

My lord you’ll find you must agree
That you acted shamefully—
I saw your glee.
You acted discourteously
For all to see
And brought great shame to thee and me
Forever be.

This bit of didactism is an estampida. The 12th century Provençal genre of the estampida (“uproar”) is related to the Old French estampie. It employed regular stanza structures (that is, all the stanzas looked the same) and a single-rhyme scheme. This poem is loosely based on an estimpida written by Raimbaut de Vaqueiras or Vaqueyras (fl. 1180 – 1207) known as “Kalenda maia” that was an exchange between a knight and his lady.

Monday, March 28, 2016

The sun never sets

By THLaird Colyne Stewart, March AS 50 (2016)

The sun never sets on old Ealdormere
Our very old debts are already paid
The trees grow so tall, well watered with blood,
Our legends won’t fall, they walk with us still—
The Iron Duke writes secure in his home,
The mighty Earl fights with sword in each hand,
The first hare of Skreal still sits in the hall,
The fox with black tail sits tall on her horse.
And those that have gone are still in our minds
Live on in their spawn, their lineage kept,
Their hearts are held close in action and deed
Remembered in prose by poet and skald
The hall that they built we add to our selves
Do not let it tilt by adding bad wood
Each log is a deed, an action we took;
A log made of greed, or envy or spite
Could topple the hall, the log rotten through.
Do not be a thrall to low base desire
Live on my good folk, live on as a pack,
Think on what I spoke, live on like true wolf.

The Italian frottola emerged in the 14th century as a satiric, rambling verse form utilizing irregular meters and stanzas, reflecting the fact that the subject matter was usually unconnected, bizarre and sometimes senseless. They could be composed of couplets of unrhymed pentameter, heptameter or hendecasyllabic lines with internal rhyme (though some experts also believe there were blank form frottola).  In the 15th century the form became known as the frottola-barzelleta where it became a sub-species of canto carnascialesco (carnival song), set to music, following the structure of the balata grande and being octosyllabic. At the beginning of the 14th century it was used for moral instruction, but by the end of that century it had assumed artistic proportions with moral, political or satirical themes. It also made use of proverbs and witty instructional content (didacticism).

Thursday, March 24, 2016

“I find that”

By THLaird Colyne Stewart

I find that if I whine and curse
The world around me just gets worse
However if I try to change
The world around me just gets strange.

Written using the 16th century Spanish form called the folía (a 4-line stanza). The folía was a variation of the seguidilla. It is likely related to a Portuguese dance-song form which normally expressed a nonsensical or ridiculous thought. The lines may be octosyllabic or shorter. If the lines are not of equal length then the even numbered lines are generally shorter and very often oxytonic.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A poem is more than words on page

By THLaird Colyne Stewart, March AS 50 (2016)

A poem is more than words on page—
They are our souls laid bare to see
A glimpse of joy, of pain, of rage,
A poem is more than words on page—
They teach us words of knowing sage
And ask us all to better be;
A poem is more than words on page—
They are our souls laid bare to see.

Written as a triolet which was a stanza poem of 8-lines, written in iambic tetrameter and rhyming ABaAabAB. The first, fourth and seventh lines are identical, as are the second and final lines (thus making the initial and final couplets identical as well). The triolet is related to the rondeau.

A wolf runs free

By THLaird Colyne Stewart, March AS 50 (2016)

A northern wolf runs where it will,
The wolf runs free, the wolf runs wild,
It lopes past tree and up high hill,
And fights whenever it is riled.
A wolf will not be caged or held
As by the moon it is compelled

And like the wolf the people are
So fierce and proud, so bold and preaux,
From Ealdormere we travel far
And walk the lands our elders knew.
No bended knee, no kneelers we,
The northern wolf is always free.

Written using the Venus and Adonis stanza form. This stanza form, invented by Shakespeare, used six lines written in iambic pentameter and rhymed ababcc. The form takes its name from the poem where Shakespeare introduced it, Venus and Adonis (1593).

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Kingdom Barding

By THLaird Colyne Stewart, March AS 50 (2016)

What noble steeds are these here,
draped in crimson and clad in trillium flowers?
From northern lands they endear
and show our majestic powers
draped in crimson and clad in trillium flowers.

Written to commemorate the kingdom barding used by TRH’s Nigel and Adrielle at Gulf Wars 2016. Written as a lira which was a shortened variation of the canción and was invented by Garcilaso de la Vega (c. 1501 – 1536). The most popular form of the lira is a quintain stanza where the second line repeats in line five and has a rhyme scheme of aBabB. The lines had either seven or eleven syllables.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

“I try to write”

By THLaird Colyne Stewart, March AS 50 (2016)

I try to write, put pen to page—
The cat will not be silent, no,
The world outside won’t quell its rage,
And neither will it let words flow.
To make the verses brightly grow
I drown the noise in quiet thought,
And work despite the to and fro,
To find the peace in words I sought.

Written as a huitain (pronounced wit-tain), a 15th century 8-line strophe with 8-syllable lines (French) or 10-syllable lines (English). It used three rhymes with one of these appearing four times and with the same rhyme for the fourth and fifth lines. The huitain could be a stand-alone poem, or used as a unit in longer poems. Sometimes multiple poets would each supply hutains to make a longer piece.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

My love is always by my side

By THLaird Colyne Stewart, March AS 50 (2016)

My love is always by my side,
And keeps me safe from grev’ous harm.
Her dress displays my mark of pride,
Her stately shape shows off her charm,
Forever is she on my arm.
All who see her know she’s mine:
My mark, my love, the outward sign.
Her strength ensures I never yield
And never have to bend my spine.
I love you so, my glor’ous shield.

Written as a dizain, a French poetic form from the 15th and 16th century, employing a stanza of 10-lines, using eight or ten syllables to the line, and having a specific rhyming pattern.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A horn upon his head does grow

By THLaird Colyne Stewart, March AS 50 (2016)

A horn upon his head does grow
Each time he steps upon the field
His armour, magic, does not glow,
As tight he grips his mystic shield.

Opponents meet, the shots are thrown
It caught my sleeve! Light! Tippy! Flat!
He dances up the field and down
An undead curl, a cheat, a rat.

The skill is there but easier still
To shrug a blow, refuse to fall,
The lure of victory, titles, fill
The tin can’s heart which is so small.

What void so big, what is deprived,
To sell one’s honour for so cheap?
To sully all for which one’s strived,
To make one’s consort silent weep?

The rhino does not think these thoughts
Too caught up in the sirens’ call
Not knowing that the past is wrought
By present those who saw it all.

Respect is earned, it is not won,
Son, think on that ‘ere tourney’s done.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

O’ber Dog

By THLaird Colyne Stewart, March AS 50 (2016)

The sun sinks so low, while cold the wind blows and running through snow goes a tan hound.
She picks up a scent, her mind it is bent on prey where it went and hid to ground.

The winter ground hides in snowy dune tides where the prey abides—there is no prize.
Returns to my feet without any meat; takes a chilly seat and she sad cries.

But, joy, she leaps up—a glad, happy pup, her mind turned from sup and her distress.
Just happy to be, to run, oh so free; her face full of glee and pure gladness.

While no master piece of literature, this poem is my first attempt at writing in the Welsh awdl form called cyhydedd hir (pronounced cuh-hih’deth here). Cyhydedd hir were lines comprised of three 5-syllable sections that shared an end rhyme, followed by a 4-syllable section with a new end rhyme. The next line uses c rhymes in place of a rhymes. These internal rhymes remain within the line while the end b rhyme connects not internally but with the next line’s end rhyme.

x x x x a x x x x a x x x x a x x x b
x x x x c x x x x c x x x x c x x x b

I found it easy to write the lines by splitting each line into a stanza, and then collapsing them again once I was done.