Forcing Bulbs in Winter

Hi Friends,
Well the poetry-form-du-jour is blank verse! Is this what happens when you read a poem that makes zero sense and you stare blankly at the page? Surprisingly, no. Blank verse is actually one of the most common forms of writing found in English literature.

Blank verse is writing that is written in unrhymed iambic pentameter. That is, all of the lines are ten syllables long, composed of 5 pairs of syllables, the first unstressed and the second stressed. Now, are you stressed? Because I get stressed talking about stresses. Don’t be. It really is just a way to give speech a certain formality and rhythm. According to an interview given on NPR, poet Edward Hirsch notes that it’s very practical since 10 syllables is about the number that can be enunciated by our English-speaking lungs in one breath. Hirsch notes that most of the famous speeches in Shakespeare’s plays are written in blank verse, and much of contemporary American poetry is as well.

Forcing Bulbs in Winter
by Julie Sumner

At the time of their rediscovery,
the once-plump hyacinth bulbs had languished
forgotten on the shelf in the basement.
Fingering their hollow, papery husks,
I upbraided my distractible soul,
wondered if they had a leaf of life left
after a long year of silent neglect.

Now they daily preach their silent sermon,
humbly at rest in a dish of pebbles,
tap water and the mincing winter sun
have become their heavenly abundance,
tight green buds laugh at my inconsistence.

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