In the world of hip-hop, Lewis Turco would be considered an “Original Gangsta,” an “O.G.”—a title given to someone who started it all. In the more genteel business of poetry writing, however, Turco would be called an “Institution,” and what he started was nothing less than a renewed appreciation of poetic forms.
Sharing a poem by Lewis Turco, author of The Book of Forms, today. I had a hard time picking which terzanelle of his to post, as I like them all.
What's a terzanelle? A terzanelle has "nineteen lines total, with five triplets and a concluding quatrain. The middle line of each triplet stanza is repeated as the third line of the following stanza, and the first and third lines of the initial stanza are the second and final lines of the concluding quatrain; thus, seven of the lines are repeated in the poem."
TERZANELLE OF THIS ROOM OF HOURS
by Lewis Turco
"The March sun causeth dust, and the wind blows it about."
There is a room, and in that room hourdust
Lies smothering the chairs, the rugs and couches
Where no one sits, where the radiators rust,
Thinking of steam. The chill of evening slouches
In the corner shadows where wallpaper peels in waves,
Lies smothering the chairs, the rugs and couches.
Nothing is certain here. The twilight saves
The day in ripples that fall through windowpanes
On the corner shadows where wallpaper peels in waves,
Sounding the silent combers. Everything stains
Everything, is nothing but what it is.
The day, in ripples that fall through windowpanes,
Washes the floor and fades. Now, in this
Heartbeat preceding night, the room is still
Everything, is nothing but what it is:
The raveling of mildew upon a sill;
Heartbeat preceding night. The room is still
Where no one sits, where the radiators rust.
There is a room, and in that room, our dust.
Original publication: Poetry Miscellany, 8, 1978. Included in The Collected Lyrics of Lewis Turco / Wesli Court 1953-2004, Scottsdale: Star Cloud Press, 2004; all rights reserved by the author. Posted here with permission of the poet.
Robyn is the Poetry Friday host today. I bought a Writer Mouse ornament from her artsyletters shop recently:
Isn't it adorable? Robyn does a wonderful job of packaging her products, too -- you can rest assured that if you send an artsyletters gift, it will look great!