Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thursday Poetry Form Week 32: Grins...Creativity on Poetry...

Well, CC Champagne is back, welcoming all you lovely poets out there to a new week at The Gooseberry Garden. We are trying to find out more about inspiring poetry forms (and learn right along with you) on Thursdays here in The Gooseberry Garden. So pull up a lawn chair and enjoy they golden glow of autumn with us as we take a look at something you have (possibly) never heard of before.

For some reason the idea of writing a spell appeals to me... It usually has a rhythm, a recurring phrase and a mystic feel. I thought that rhyming a spell should be easy enough, and with the enormous popularity of J.K. Rawling's Harry Potter as well as various TV-series and films over the past decade, anything witch and spell related has become rather trendy lately (or maybe I just want to believe that because it makes my life easier?). Therefore, as a follow up to the more educational (and very well explained) Poetry for Dummies Post last week, I decided to have a look at one of the old versions of spells and chants out there.

A Carmen is not just the name of an opera (or an opéra comique by Georges Bizet if Wikipedia is to be believed), it is also the name of a Poetry Form with roots in ancient Rome.

Originally named after the Roman Goddess Carmenta, the Goddess of childbirth and prophecy, a Carmen is a verse which is, in its' proper sense an spell or a prayer to the Goddess. Originally these Carmens (some recorded by Plutarch and Virgil) were chanted, which implies a need for rhythm, but there seems to be no specified meter required to write a Carmen. The number three does hold some relevance though, and a certain phrase is often repeated three times.

The freedom of not having to count syllables, of course, suits me to the tee and allows me the liberty of using the opening witch scene in Shakespeare's Macbeth as an example (although the form might not be considered traditionally correct for a Carmen):

Thrice and once the hedge-pig whined.
Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd.
Harpier cries 'Tis time, 'tis time.
Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison'd entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights has thirty-one
Swelter'd venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i' the charmed pot.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

Or even the more popular childrens' rhyme (origin unknown):

Rain, rain go away! Come again some other day!

What would a modern day Carmen sound like? What kind of spells or chants would you wish to cast? And if you were brewing a potion, what modern ingredients would you use? Perhaps you wish to enchant an object? Any efforts are more than welcome at the Poetry Picnic!