Friday, October 12, 2012

"Decima" (poem)

This poem was written in response to a Reverie-challenge from Joseph Harker.  The form is decima.

Here’s what Joseph says, “…As you might guess from the name, ten is the magic number when it comes to the décima stanza. The form is Latin American, but in my research, I’m finding reference to it being both Puerto Rican and Ecuadoran…
Structurally, the form seems pretty straightforward: a stanza of four lines, and then four stanzas of ten lines each. And then more things: first, the lines have eight syllables each, but this can be slightly flexible…for this form, you do not have to choose a particular meter. Second, there is a rhyme scheme that is described as ABBA ACCDDC. And third, each of the four lines of the first stanza must repeat elsewhere in each ten-line stanza of the poem. I suppose the easiest variant of this would be to do the first line in the first stanza, second in the second, etc.”

Here’s my attempt:


Withered hands, permeable, old,
Mem’ry of your touch still lingers,
Time escaping through my fingers,
Tale unraveling, life untold.

Close we get as days unfold,
Thinner dreams, sleep lighter, fragile,
Heavy step, a soul in exile,
Withered hands, permeable, old.
Night around me wrapped, being cold,
Balance on the verge of after,
Keep on walking, former rafter,
Dry’s the land where the waters flowed,
Travelling down the winding road,
Hanging on to children’s laughter.

Clasp the thread with failing fingers,
Try to find the long-sought measure,
What is it you used to treasure?
Mem’ry of your touch still lingers. 
Mem’ry of my youth still triggers
Those emotions softly sleeping
Underneath the scars and weeping,
By a dry creek cries a willow,
Through the tiny jail cell window
Fading sunshine gently seeping.

Birds of sunset, mournful singers,
Sing your praise to days forgotten,
Roots of which we were begotten,
Time escaping through my fingers.
In the dusk I hear bell ringers,
For my soul the bell is tolling,
Swiftly, as the night is falling,
Count the blessings I’ve been given,
Pray for me, so I’m forgiven,
In the bells I hear your calling.

Non-repayable what is owed,
Still you come to claim your measure,
I shall bring to you my treasure,
Tale unraveling, life untold.
Seedlings coming up strong, behold,
Persevere must what’s been planted,
Bouts of woe, no tale enchanted,
Yet succeeding tearful mourning
Comes the sun-kissed youthful morning,
Yet another day is granted.

Live for the Love of it,
The Happy Amateur

 © T.H.A.