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October 6, 2011


No crimson tulips for Galadriel –
frosty pallor glazes elven glances
releasing shivered secrets luminal.

Testing minds of Middle-earth romancers
reveals beguile, the bold unfaltering,
self ascribing grabbers, necromancers
intent malevolent – possess the ring.

Silvers vigour, shames hot inclination;
diminishes. Her journey westering –
rimed in harp song’s flicker-string cantation.


Notes on the form, devised by Luke Prater
Stress Matrix Stanza/Dectet (aka Stress Checkerboard Stanza/Dectet). 10 lines, 10 syllables per line.
a-B-a | B-c-B-c | D-c-D
where lowercase are iambic pentameter and uppercase are trochaic pentameter – they alternate the whole way, giving a perfect ‘checkerboard’ of stressed and unstressed syllables, ten lines down x ten syllables across (=100 syllables completely evenly distributed and the rhyme scheme also utterly even/symmetrical mathematically).

I’m linking this poem with some of today’s best poets at dVerse Poets Pub for their 13th OpenLinkNight – drop in for some fab writing:

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  1. this seems like a difficult form to write but you have done it very well here. I mastered Luke’s Octain but the checkerboard is too intimidating still 😉

    • Thanks, Sheila, that’s kind of you. It was a bit of a head-banger I must admit… I had great help on the board from Julie and Luke… mmm I love the octain too. So flexible..

  2. This is great!!
    I’m still struggling with the syllable part…I have written three sonnets, but thats all I have done. I just cannot get the stressed, unstressed thing correctly 😦

  3. Alright, I will try it out. I attempted an Octain last night. Guess will submit it to you on fb for corrections.

    • Lovely.. looking forward to reading more of your work… but I will only have suggestions.. not corrections 🙂 I have much to learn from you too..

  4. a very difficult form well penned…of course the middle earth touch does it for me though speaks of many these days that still quest the ring…

  5. kudos for approaching one of luke’s stress matrix forms…somehow they caused stress in me each time i thought about writing one…so i never did…smiles
    love the lord of the ring mood you weave into this…mystery well captured…tolkien is one of my fav writers..

    • I’m still not quite sure why I tried the you, it felt such a stretch….but when the head-banging was over I was really pleased i’d had a go.. Really glad to know you enjoyed the read.. as you can guess, I also have a lot of time for Tolkien – what a weaver of tales..

  6. You’ve nailed the moon icily spot-on. That’s the elven poetic, arch-lunar, it’s silver spectra devoid of anything to the red right, shaming “hot inclination.” Ariel’s of this ilk, ethereal, a strobe of nightlight, flickering across the heart like a shooting star. Great work. – Brendan

    • That is a much appreciated response Brendan.. steeped in myth as you are I’m touched that you enjoyed my version of Galadriel…

  7. Oh yes going all middle earth and movie land, is quite grand for me. Great verse and looks like a tough form, you pulled it off wonderfully though.

  8. in little a fog with the form… the words emerged bringing about an air of mystery

  9. hedgewitch permalink

    Galadriel is a poem in a word, and you work her name’s magic here, playing with a form that would have me running for the nearest psychiatrist. (I barely can handle iambic pentameter, on a good day.) I love the word choices you’ve made here, to produce both a strong feeling of …well, stress..alongside that relinquishing, westering, retreat, turning the task of preserving life over to the living–of course, like Brian, I do bring my Tolkein along with me to the reading, but I think your vision harmonizes.

    • You’re so right about the name.. my starting point. Really appreciate your thoughts on how far this might work beyond Tolkien enthusiasts.. I do enjoy your readings.. thank you.. 🙂

  10. hobgoblin2011 permalink

    Great job, I’ll have to give the form a try someday. Not surprised Luke created it, he’s a very talented poet in his own right. Outside of the adherence to the form, I love the way you really infuse some wonderfully thought out language throughout each stanza. Very good read, thanks

    • Thank you for your kind words.. very much appreciated. Couldn’t agree more about Luke’s poetic abilities and I hope you have fun with this form.. 🙂

  11. This write has now settled a bit into me (sorry for the delay in commenting, I’ve been savoring, swishing the language around). Immediately it made me want to learn some of those luminal secrets and the complexities of the form. You pull these forms off with immense grace. The layers of meaning whisper like Galadriel’s telepathy (how’d you do that?). As a composer who’s written for the harp I adored the ‘flicker-string cantation’.

    • Anna… thank you for those words.. especially about the harp. I forget you are also musically talented, so appreciate what you say about harp music very much.

      For help on the form, join us at FEPC.. wonderful help available..!

  12. amazing and so well done I could not follow this I should try it one day but I could never do as well as you and pen it so beautifully

    • Thanks Sarah… I think this form allows the smoothest of reads.. quite a challenge for me I admit…

  13. This must be incredibly difficult to pull off so well……. It would take me a week to finish a single stanza….. It amazes me how you do this with such ease……. truly beautiful……

  14. hard challenge, beautiful turnout!

    keep it up.

  15. Thank you for reading and happy you enjoyed.

  16. Excellent Stresser, Becs. You make it look easy.

  17. er… now you gotta do the sonnet version.. iambic and trochaic heptameter…

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