I can’t believe it’s Friday already, but here we are. And we’ve moved on to the U section of the poetry dictionary. There are only two entries to choose from and one is unstressed syllable. So we’re going with the other one, which is actually pretty interesting. We’re writing ubi sunt, which John Drury defines as follows:
UBI SUNT (uh’-suhnt’, “uh” pronounced as in “put”; Latin, “where are”) Poetic theme in which the poet asks “where are” certain people, where have they gone. The theme began in Medieval Latin, with the formula ubi sunt used to introduce a roll call of the dead or missing and to suggest how transitory life is.
The best-known ubi sunt poem [is] François Villon’s ballade whose refrain is “But where are the snows of yester-year?”the poetry dictionary, pg. 330
For the challenge today, I would like you to write a poem that asks this timeless question: “where are?” You could write about someone you know who is no longer with us. Or you could write about one or more famous people. Maybe you want to write about someone who was once a big part of your life but who you don’t see anymore. There are a lot of options. I don’t think the subject of your poem has to be dead, though the example of Villon involves women who are.
The paint chip words you have to work with are peachy, illumination, graphite, rattlesnake, spring, octopus, and pizzazz. Interestingly, there are no phrases among the randomly pulled cards this week. I would like you to use at least three of the words. Extra bonus points if you use them all, but again, the bonus points aren’t worth much other than bragging rights.
I’ve decided to write a little free verse this week. I thought about writing about family members who have died, but the paint chip words inspired me to go a different direction.
Where Are You Now? In the depths of winter darkness gray as graphite I wonder: Spring, where are you? It can feel like you are gone forever and that chilly days are here to stay. But then comes the pizzazz of crocus, heather, and early bulbs poking through the earth. Joy abounds and winter fades. Summer follows spring. Peachy roses bloom, gracing me with their fragrant beauty. Sunshine illumination on the year's longest day has me asking: Winter, where are you? Is it possible you are gone forever? One can hope, but it's not so. God has set the seasons to follow one another and by faith we know it will be.
Now it’s your turn to write on the theme of ubi sunt, in any form you like. You can share your poem in the comments. Or, if you prefer, post your poem on your blog or website and drop a link in the comments. Please share this prompt with your friends and readers so others can come join the fun.