Writings and Witterings



The first exercise on my Poetry Year course with Sally J. Blackmore was to work on a contemporary take on Old English form, most especially no rhyme but alliteration, stress, caesura and kenning to achieve a poetic effect. Sally said ‘Our modern language in essence is one of iambic pattern. Old English is not – it is all about stress [as opposed to syllabic rhythm]. The usual example to explain this is our word – blackbird. This illustrates a word that is neither iambic (blackbird) nor a trochaic (blackbird) word. It is entirely even – each syllable is one half stress unusual for modern English and a direct link to the Germanic element of the hotchpotch that is our modern tongue.’

Here’s my attempt:


Butterfly beats || Bathsheba sings
Heavenly melodies || heartache and madness
A-courting her beau || he goes blindly to war
Hanky is twisted || taunted and anxious
Bathsheba weeps || hot tears

Polly Robinson Β© 2013


16 thoughts on “Bathsheba

  1. Well done Polly – personally I love rootling about and finding out more about our roots in language and translating that into poetry.


  2. very interesting.. i find it totally fascinating how language developed and still does.. wondering where it will take us in a few years..


  3. You can always be counted on for inspiration or a challenge, perhaps both at once! Merci beaucoup!


  4. I like the way it all fits together without rhymes. It’s a really nice style.


  5. I’m not fully sure I understand but looks and sounds very interesting in your hands. k.


  6. I could hear a touch of Sylvia Plath about this one πŸ™‚ Fabulous πŸ™‚


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