To Commemorate the “Lost Day” of April 16th

Today’s first device from Packard’s A Poet’s Dictionary: A Handbook of Prosody and Poetic Devices is

Ode: An extended lyric, on a single theme or subject, often of considerable length and usually using recognizable STANZA patterns. The word “ode” comes from the Greek aeidein, meaning to sing or chant, and the form may have had its origins with Sappho in the middle of the seventh centruy B.C., because her surviving work includes one complete ode and four stanzas of a second ode. The later Greek poet Pindar wrote triumphal odes, and the Roman poet Horace wrote odes as well as SATIRES and EPISTLES.

I am sharing here the first two stanzas of an original poem entitled “Ode to Today.”  It is quite lengthy, so I won’t post the entire poem.  The “single theme or subject” is the kind of sadness that is brought on by loneliness or rejection.  As for recognizable stanza patterns, there are not any; at least, not the way I think Packard means.  The stanzas get “fatter” on the page (the lines get longer) and build to a middle, a crescendo, before they shrink again.  That effect was not anything I tried to achieve consciously, but it is suitable for the poem.

Ode to Today
[Stanzas First and Second]
(Suzanne Baldwin Leitner)

I imagine hell is this color:
a backlit gray pewter mix
that blends together
in a mop-water wash
staining the very air
teasing a light somewhere
“out there”
away from here and ungettable.

Today I sat in murky air
watched Gwynneth Paltrow
pretend to be Sylvia Plath
in a quite believable if not true
way, because that sort of frenetic despair
is too real for film or even poetry.

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