10 November 2010


Remember, Remember Your Poems for November!

letter WAnd, MoreQ
6 Sign POS

We are open for submissions! Link up your November poems, my fellow poets!

Since I'm offering another giveaway on Shredded Cheddar and awarding extra entries to anyone who joins next month's Word & Question, I'll be retaining the hosting duties for December. But if anyone wants to sign up early for January, let me know. =)

Word: Albatross
Question: Does love make the world go round?

There is no movement on the deck
this thin world between sky and sea
and winds no longer blow for me

I hear the ocean's muffled heart
which beats with mine in this great vault
a wilderness of waves and salt

In space only the lonely chart
with silence worse than storm and wreck
love's stirring order goes unsaid
and I am hopeless, hard and dead
as the albatross around my neck.

This poem gave me a bit of trouble. The first line that came to me was actually the very last one. And the second line that came was the second-to-last one. And I knew they should be at the end; there was no way I was putting them at the beginning or in the middle. And so at one point, I thought I'd end up writing the whole poem backwards!

At least it all worked out, aye?


dylan said...

You are quite fluent in meter and rhyme -- but I do have to remark upon the bleak mood! But yes, poetically, it works and works quite well.

Here's my effort, which I think has a promising start but becomes a bit hackneyed toward the end.

Enbrethiliel said...


Wow! You're quick! =D

I was worried about the extra syllable in the last line of my poem, but that was the first line that came to me, and I couldn't think of any way to "fix" it.

As for the mood, well, I've been down on love lately and it can't help but show. =S

dylan said...

About the "extra" syllable: in Italian and Spanish, I believe, it'd be no problem, because the consecutive vowels in "the albatross" would elide!

Almost as if it were:

as th' albatross around my neck

And of course, anapaestic substitution is almost always permissible in iambic verse! So you're good.

Did I mention that I love the unpredictability of the rhyme scheme? Brava!

Dauvit Balfour said...

Absolutely love it (not a little because it was my word you got stuck with). I think it goes quite nicely with the mood of the Fleetwood Mac song of the same title (man, I really need to stop pulling word and question from my music collection, it's just, when I submit them, it's in the middle of the afternoon...).

I really, really like the last line. For some reason it conjures an image of a silver albatross hanging from a chain like the One Ring, dragging the wearer down and cutting into the flesh.

...that's how I imagine it anyway.

For ease of visualization (and variety, as well, since I'm probably the only one that sees it the way I see it), this is probably my favorite of yours yet.

Enbrethiliel said...


Dylan: There are so many words in your analysis that I had to look up, to make sure I understood them properly! (I'm hopeless at appreciating poetry properly, I'm afraid.)

It was the rhyme scheme that gave me the most trouble, so I'm glad it works for you.

Dauvit: Thanks for the word! "Albatross" is the sort that really makes a poem; it is single-handedly responsible for the bleak mood of the whole piece. =D

And here I thought you were inspired by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. =P Fleetwood Mac is good, though. There's nothing wrong with being inspired by such great music!

Now, what do you mean that you're the only one who sees it the way you see it??? Spill!!!

Dauvit Balfour said...

Well, not in any necessarily profound ways, but I'll give my general impression and a few things that are specific to the poem's effect on me.

I see not just bleakness but heaviness. As I already mentioned, for me the Albatross isn't just dead, it weighs heavily, cutting flesh and dragging the wearer down.

Of course there's love - lost, missed, or never had? I don't know, though the third last line makes me think missed.

And there's the waves slapping at the boat, in time to the song, which I hear in my head when I read the poem (marvelous that, without knowing the song, your poem was so evocative, though perhaps that's a tribute to how well Peter Green captured the word with his instrumental).

The third to last line is the one that really confuses me, and thus intrigues me.

And finally, I find it odd that despite the reference to the sky as a chart, clearly indicating a clear night, I see only gray above.

Enbrethiliel said...


I had to think a bit about your reading of the line:

In space only the lonely chart

What I meant was, "In space [that] only the lonely chart . . . love's stirring order goes unsaid."

So you can have your nice grey, starless night, anyway! ;-) (There's a moon, though, right? The moon is always lonely!)

Now, should I tell you what the third-to-last line was intended to mean . . . or do I leave that mysterious? =P

Salome Ellen said...

OK, mine is up. http://salomeellen.blogspot.com/2010/11/word-and-question-6.html

Enbretheliel, I don't think this is a poem I'd choose to read again. But I'll remember it, I think because of its somberness. You got that very well, I think -- and Dylan's right, my mind heard "th'albatross" before I ever saw his comment.

Enbrethiliel said...


Hmmmm. Maybe it's just my way of speaking that stretches the long E in "the." I'll have to practice eliding properly!

It's definitely the saddest poem submitted for W&Q since we started playing. I hope I haven't started a trend! =P

Now I'm off to read your poem . . .

Belfry Bat said...

I'm so slow... it doesn't seem to get better; anyways, thanks for letting me play! (And thank you, Dylan, too! I hope it doesn't disappoint too badly?)
A rhymey irregular


dylan said...

Belfry Bat: It does not disappoint at all. Well done!

Enbrethiliel said...


I think you ended up with a really nice word and question pair, Bat! I think it's great that you got not just one, but two poems out of them. =D Well done!

Lindsay said...

Here's mine: http://verysleepypeople.com/2010/11/20/word-question-6/

Will commence commenting on everyone else's in the coming days! Yours included. :o)

Enbrethiliel said...


Thanks, Lindsay. =) I'm sure everyone's been keen to read your poem, too.

Dauvit Balfour said...

Coming in waaaaaay later than I'd hoped, here goes:

Altar of the Traveler

I'm so glad I went with this, instead of the idea that popped into my head this morning. But I'll let y'all decide for yourselves, and I'll cross post it in the Norman Rockwell thing, for anyone who gave up on me.

Enbrethiliel said...


Well, now I'm curious about the other idea that you didn't go with! Bat posted two poems, so maybe you could share the other, too? =)

I've just read the one you did post and think it's great. Do you play an instrument? I think this one wants to be set to music--which is no surprise, given that it's one of your poems. ;-)

Lindsay said...

Ha! Your poem really is sort of the opposite of mine, isn't it? I like it. It really does work. It seems like a Poesque version of "Rime of the Ancient Mariner," which I'm assuming you were going for, what with the reference to the albatross at sea! I don't know why, but I've always had a thing for more somber poems of the despondent variety--maybe because it's reflective of the quintessential poet? (Ha!) I don't know, but it works. I rather enjoy what you did with the word and question. It's quite lovely.

I do confess, however, that reading "only the lonely" did cause me to break out into song. A little.

I especially loved the imagery of "the ocean's muffled heart." It made me think of waves pulsing--the perfect metaphor.

Enbrethiliel said...


Lindsay, thank you so much for your comment!

I actually did have Rime of the Ancient Mariner in mind when I was writing this. (Well, what else to go with when writing about an albatross?) And "the ocean's muffled heart" definitely refers to the waves! I had wanted to write about the waves as the ocean's heartbeat, but that metaphor was the best I could do.

Dauvit Balfour said...

I wrote on Thanksgiving day, so of course the other idea that came to me was to use "The altar of thanksgiving" as a center piece. I didn't develop it any further than that, though, because it seemed too obvious, and the obvious is no fun.

So, here's the funny thing about my poem - I don't really hear a song there, and yet everyone else apparently does. I'm curious what would be done with it, but my piano skills never extended to songwriting.