Ubi Sunt with Paint Chips
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 actual form of your poem is your choice. You could write couplets or free verse. You could practice another terza rima or sixain because you enjoyed them so much.
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.
Pingback: Ubi Sunt | Poet's Corner
Pingback: Ubi Sunt | Jemverse
Pingback: Ubi Sunt | revivedwriter
Pingback: Ubi sunt paint chip poem | Sue's Trifles
Pingback: Ubi Sunt | Poet's Corner
Linda, I totally missed this week’s prompt. One death, (a client), one funeral, one memorial service, one last goodbye to friends moving far away. I just read the prompt and I guess I felt the stress of each and so many unanswerable questions. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to engage. Will continue with the next, Lord willing.
I love your poem.
Mary, I am so sorry for your loss. Perhaps you can return to the ubi sunt prompt when you’ve gained a little distance from your initial sorrow and write a private poem to honor client and friends. And may God bring you comfort and peace in full measure.
I’m excited to try this! In my French literature class, we read a few poems by François Villon and did an analysis on “Où sont les neiges d’antan?” ❤️
I look forward to reading what you are inspired to write. 😊
A terza rima this time: https://childrencount.wordpress.com/2021/07/11/nan/
Here’s mine: http://childrencount.wordpress.com/2021/07/10/overcomers-ubi-sunt/
I like how you reminded us that God has set the seasons and we remain faithful.
I used “spring”, “pizzazz” and “peachy” in this poem.
Long ago we studied here when it was still a place.
Your name I have forgotten, but I still can see your face.
And others, too, their words we heard. I hear them still today
with spring pizzazz and peachy smiles before we went away.
I like this. I like that you asked “where are you” without asking that question directly.
Some interesting word choices this time. I like what you did with them. 🙂
Thank you. They were interesting, that’s for sure.
I love your opening line “In the depths of winter darkness gray as graphite”
I am also intrigued by this form, and I already have a few ideas rattling around in my brain (waiting for one to gel). I immediately thought of the song: Where Have All the Flowers Gone?
Looking forward to reading what you come up with.
I thought of that song too. My original opening line was of the same form, but I had second thoughts.
I became enthralled with the ubi sunt theme and totally neglected the paint chips. Thank you for the inspiration.
This is great timing for me because I’m looking for memorial poetry for an event at our gallery in August. (Did you see my message on your contact page?)
I did not see your message and can’t find it. Which makes me wonder what other messages I’m missing. Did you use the contact form here in my blog?
If you want, you can email me at email@example.com
I will, thanks.