Today I tried something new…

…and checked something off my long, long, long list.  I have wanted to write some kind of series or epic based on Rudyard Kipling’s “The Gods of the Copybook Headings.”  This was a prophetic piece much neglected, partly because hardly anyone now alive knows what a copybook is.

This is a series of two sonnets.  I decided to make it strictly adhere syllablically, but using Anapestic rhythm which more closely conforms to the cadence of Kipling’s original work.  I have been desirous of writing something of a sequel, in view of the modern Romantic Realist Movement, which is a sign that the evils mentioned in Kipling’s poem are, at the very least, in the process of being supplanted.

This work may, indeed grow to 4 sonnets; because I have decided to created interlocking sonnets to preserve the feel of Kipling’s work, the sequence must grow by twos. The way it works is that the last two lines of the first sonnet comprises the first two lines of a quatrain ended by the first two lines of the second sonnet.  So therefore, 2 sonnets, 7 quatrains, 4 sonnets, 14 quatrains, etc.

I imposed quite wonderful pressure on myself in the writing of this first pair.  Because I made a requirement that the rhymescheme–Shakespearian ABAB type–also had the additional requirement of an third rhyme between the beginning of lines 2 and 4.  More accurately the odd lines are Anapestic and the even lines are Dactylic.  The extra lines end with an extra feminine syllable and the Dactylic lines end with an extra masculine one.  So as thus:

  f  f  M  |  f  f  M  |  f  f  M  |  f

M...  f  f  |  M  f  f  |  M  f  f  |  M

I indicate a bit of a pause on the first Masculine syllable of each even number line. This helps the feeling of the flipping rhythm every other line. so in every stanza, the ‘f’ and ‘M’ at the end will rhyme, as well as the ‘M…’ beginning on each even line.

I am hardly sure, one way or another, if I will, in fact, write an additional set of sonnets for this sequence. There are certainly some elements in the theme that call out to me to be explored–heroically and properly Ode-like.


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