It wasn’t enough that I wanted to do a rhyming form for October’s poetry form, but because the original post was scheduled for November 1st, I wanted to do a poem revolving around All Saints’ Day (aka Hallowmas). Jeez I’m not very bright sometimes.
So the form I decided on was the Balassi stanza. I forgot how much I dislike the Balassi stanza. It was created by a Hungarian poet named Balint Balassi who was lauded for his new use of rhymes. This stanza consists of nine lines and it might be easier just to show you the rhyme scheme: AABCCBDDB
But wait! That’s not all! There’s also a strict syllable count. Lines three, six, and nine have seven syllables and all the rest have six. The result is a somewhat choppy rhythm that really bugs the crap out of me. Okay, maybe it’s the syllable count that bugs me. Could be the restrictive syllable count is what makes it choppy.
At any rate, while researching All Saints’ Day I came across the term Allhallowtide. Also known as the Triduum of Death, it spans October 1 through November 2 and consists of All Saints’ Eve (Halloween), All Saints’ Day (Hallowmas), and All Souls’ Day. Awesome - three days, three stanzas.
I have to admit, I’m not happy with the way this poem turned out. Like I said, the form makes it choppy and I found the syllable counts very limiting. However, it is what it is. Maybe some day I’ll re-do the poem and forget about the form.
Fires of bone light the night -
year’s dark half now in sight -
end of harvest, feast with kin;
watch mummers in the streets
in disguise - give them treats.
Fortunes are told, fate to win.
Deter the spirits ill,
draw the good and we will
survive Samhain with our skin.
Hallowmas is when we
honor saints faithfully,
their lives and deaths, famed or not -
and give God solemn due
for all He’s done for you.
Honor too those who have brought
the light to other souls
sharing the Christian goals -
give thanks for all you have got.
All Soul’s Day is the last
for honoring the vast
list of purgatory souls.
You dress in black and roam,
peal out a mournful tone
and hope to fill up your bowl.
For each soul cake you eat
a soul’s released to seek
its way - heaven is its goal.