It’s October 1 and I can’t believe how fast summer left us behind. Sigh. The only thing to do is look forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas, knowing spring can’t be far behind. Have I mentioned that summer is my favorite season? Anyway, I’m always a little sad to see it go.
For the month of October I’ve decided to do something a little different. I perused the O section of the poetry dictionary and found an entry I thought it would be fun to camp on all month. Instead of a single chance to try out a new form, we’ll use the same form all five Fridays of October. The octave, as defined by John Drury.
OCTAVE (Latin, “eight”) An eight-line stanza. An octave serves as the first eight lines of a Petrarchan (or Italian) sonnet, rhymed abbaabba. When used as a stanza in its own right, it is called a brace octave, and can also rhyme abbacddc. A common octave rhymes ababcdcd or leaves the odd-numbered lines unrhymed: XaXaXbXb.the poetry dictionary, pg 195.
This week the challenge is to write a single octave stanza, but leave it as an unfinished poem. Then next week, we’ll write a second stanza with a different set of paint chips. By week five, we’ll each have a five-stanza poem of octave stanzas. It’s up to you whether you stick with one rhyme scheme throughout, or mix it up.
I’ve selected five paint chips this week. The words and phrases you have to choose from are teddy bear, Sisyphus’s boulder, old leather boots, red carpet, and coffee. I’d like you to use at least three of these in your octave. Or, if you prefer, you can use two and then plan to use one of them next week for octave number two. You could also select one to be your main theme and weave it into all five stanzas.
I’ve decided to write a mostly fictional tale about my teddy bear Calvin. He goes with me on all overnight trips. He’s been to New York, Cancun, Hawaii, and more. When my son was younger, his teddy bear Cranberry came along too. On a few recent trips to national parks his friend Ranger Bear has accompanied us. Calvin first met Ranger Bear at an Oregon Christian Writers summer conference he went to with me.
He’s quite the adventurous bear, though he has never walked the red carpet. A bear can dream, though, can’t he?
You Can Call Me Calvin I may be a weather worn teddy bear But with all my friends I'm in cahoots A bow-tie gives me a certain flair I'd look stylish in old leather boots Look for me strolling the red carpet On the arm of my favorite girl Wearing our find from the market A ring set with fresh water pearl
Now it’s your turn to write octave number one of a five-stanza poem. I can’t wait to see what you all come up with. You can post your stanza in the comments, or you can post it on your own blog and drop a link in the comments.