Michaeline: Too much world on my mind this week.

The muse Melpomene is standing on a tilted pedestal in this fresco. She holds a frowning mask in one hand, and a big stick resting on the ground with her other hand.

The muse Melpomene found in Pompeii. Her world was on fire, too. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

A Song for 2020

The fucking world is on fucking fire, tra-la-la-la-la.
Between the plague and the fucking pyre, tra-la-la-la-la,
So many coffins on the bier, tra-la-la-la-la.
We’re paralyzed with doubt and fear, tra-la-la-la-la.

Someone else is saving the world, tra-la-la-la-la.
Filmed on an iPhone, click on this URL, tra-la-la-la-la.
Listen, be silent, speak up, support, tra-la-la-la-la.
Can’t trust the government, police or the court, tra-la-la-la-la.

What can be done, what can be done?
Wring our hands and stare at the sun?
Wash the dishes until day be done?
Ignore it all for escapist fun?

The poets would sing our troubles away, tra-la-la-la-la.
Pack up, for an hour, our cares away, tra-la-la-la-la.
See something, say something, do what we can, tra-la-la-la-la.
It’s not perfect, but it’s a plan. Tra-la-la-la-la.

Tra-la-la-la-la.
Tra-la-la-la-la.
Tra.
La-la.
La-la.
Lah.

— Michaeline Duskova

Michaeline: Sestina Fever!

I like short projects, but I also have a creative tendency to complicate them and turn them into puzzles that sometimes can only be tied to the original project parameters by very tenuous links.

For example, I’m the October Birthday Tixie for my reading list, and the job is relatively simple: look at a spreadsheet, then send birthday greetings to list members who have signed up for it on or near the day they’ve indicated (we’re a world-wide group, so we can have real or fictional time lag problems that graciously forgiven).

Image via Wikimedia Commons

But, it’s a creative group, and there are such fun things done with the idea! My most memorable birthday greeting involved a trek through the wild roses of Barrayar, and I believe there was Ma Kosti cake involved. (If you don’t know Ma Kosti, all you need to know is that her “little chocolate thingies” have the density of plutonium, and grown-ass warriors have been known to divert their plans in order to experience a Ma Kosti luncheon. Chef and food business entrepreneur extraordinaire.) I have the Head Birthday Tixie to thank for that!

My method is to choose a theme (cakes, or treasures, or fictional animals that need scientific names), write down on cards about 14 or 15 possible ideas (I have 13 people on my list), and then choose a card at random to spice up the greetings, and tie it into the Authorial Canon that my reading list enjoys.

This month, I decided to do different forms of poetry, and boy . . . I face each birthday with a combination of terror and thrill. Will the muse pull through? She’s done a decent job so far, although the scansion may be off and the syllable-counting not quite as precise as one would like.

So, the first trick was finding 13 different poetry forms; I got nervous as the first hits on Google were “the five different poetry forms” – but as I scrolled down the page, I saw “10 Poetry Forms You Must Know” and finally found one with 22, I think it was. Good enough! I started my cards – haiku, limericks, tanka, sonnet, etc.

Then it was time to write the first poem for October 1, and to my dismay, I got sestina. My first try, I have only an hour or so, and I’ve got to come up with a sestina! Continue reading