Apr 28, 2011


The virelai is a medieval French verse form that was often used in poetry and music in the late 13th to 15th centuries. It’s one of the three fixed forms of that age, the others being the rondeau and the ballade. The term “virelai” probably originated as a nonsense refrain that later came to designate the form.

By the mid-15th century the virelai became purely a poetic form. Many examples of the form exist that were not intended to be set to music. By the end of the 15th century, the form had changed dramatically to include only one stanza. The virelai has been occasionally revived by modern poets.

Using the original structure, the virelai has nine lines per stanza with at least three stanzas. It is both syllabic and rhyming. The end rhyme of each stanza recurs as the first rhyme of the following stanza.



The Vampire’s Kiss

Red moon is waning
Light mist is raining
This night
Silence campaigning
But not constraining
Courage that’s draining
Heartbeat that’s straining
For flight

Though poised now for flight
I’ve yearned for this night
This tryst
I calm, my fear slight
My shiver of fright
I wait for your bite
Our passion ignite
One kiss

You come with the mist
Breath leaves in a hiss
Blood heat
I see the abyss
It’s come down to this
I cannot resist
The vampire’s kiss
So sweet.

Apr 27, 2011

Hump Day Hunk

With all the rain we've had lately, it's not surprising it's been raining men too. :-)

Apr 26, 2011

Seven Wonders of the Ancient World - Part Three

The Statue of Zeus at Olympia

When the Temple of Zeus was completed at Olympia in 456 B.C., it was considered too simple to be worthy of the king of the gods. A statue of Zeus was commissioned from a sculpture named Phidias, already famous for his forty-foot high statue of the goddess Athena. It took him 12 years but the project was completed by 435 B.C.

The figure's skin was composed of ivory and the beard, hair and robe of gold. Construction was by a technique known as chryselephantine where gold-plated bronze and ivory sections were attached to a wooden frame. Because the weather in Olympia was so damp, the statue required care so that the humidity would not crack the ivory. It is said that for centuries the decedents of Phidias held the responsibility for this maintenance. To keep it in good shape the statue was constantly treated with olive oil kept in a special reservoir in the floor of the temple that also served as a reflecting pool. Light reflected off the pool from the doorway may also have had the effect of illuminating the statue.

Besides the statue, there was little inside the temple. The Greeks preferred the interior of their shrines to be simple. The seated statue was 12 meters (43 feet) tall, and occupied half of the width of the aisle of the temple built to house it. "It seems that if Zeus were to stand up," the geographer Strabo noted early in the 1st century BC, "he would unroof the temple."

The statue was made of ivory, a symbol of the Greeks' reverence for the king of the gods. The throne on which Zeus sat was made of cedarwood and was inlaid with ebony, ivory, gold, and jewels. Zeus held in his left hand a shining sceptre, on top of which an eagle perched, ready to take off at any moment and do the god's bidding. In Zeus's left hand rested a statue of goddess of victory Nike.

No copy in marble or bronze has survived, though there are recognizable but approximate versions on coins of nearby Elis and on Roman coins give researchers clues about its appearance.

Plutarch, in his Life of the Roman general Aemilius Paulus, records that the victor over Macedon, when he beheld the statue, “was moved to his soul, as if he had seen the god in person,” while the 1st century AD Greek orator Dio Chrysostom declared that a single glimpse of the statue would make a man forget all his earthly troubles.

The statue of Zeus lasted as an inspiration to and destination for thousands for many years. It resisted many attempts to usurp its authority in the eyes of its visitors.

The Roman Emperor Caligula decreed that all such statues of gods were to be brought to Rome so that the heads could be removed and his own put in their place. The scaffolding attached to the statue collapsed, accompanied by, according to legend, a loud laughing noise. The temple and statue survived earthquakes and other natural disasters until it was uprooted and carted off to Constantinople, in A.D. 394. It is believed that the remains of the statue were destroyed by a fire that swept the city in 475 A.D.

Apr 25, 2011

Marcescent Monday

marcescent ~ withering without falling off

Wow, where did last week go? It’s all just a blur . . .

The Death Flu finally started loosening its grip around Tuesday, but I was still pretty wiped out the rest of the week. I managed to get all my posts up on time, but I missed my Scribe’s meeting.

One of the nice things about the flu is that I lost about five pounds. It’s just a drop in the bucket as far as the amount I’d like to lose, but it’s a start. And it’s enough to motivate me into focusing a little more on the whole eating healthier, getting more exercise thing.

I’m sure I did something last week besides feeling crappy and writing blog posts, but I really can’t think of anything else. Other than blogs, I didn’t even get much reading done.

This Week’s Schedule:

Tuesday: This week’s wonder of the ancient world is the Statue of Zeus at Olympia.

Wednesday: I’ve got a special feature for the Hump Day Hunk this week. You won’t want to miss it. ;-)

Thursday: The poetry form of the week is the Virelai.

Friday: Chapter 21 of Fire. Well, Maisie and Gervaise appear to be harmless after all. But that doesn’t mean something else can’t happen . . .

Elsewhere in my week:

Yeah, it’s definitely time to put up or shut up when it comes to the exercise. I’ve got several options – exercise tapes, the rowing machine, the stationary bike, and, if all else fails, good old fashioned walking. I can’t even use the weather as an excuse because there’s a mall walking group at our local mall.

I usually write my posts the night before and the schedule them to appear the next day, but for some reason last week several of my posts saved as draft instead of posting when they were supposed to. I don’t know if it’s something I’m doing or something glitchy with blogger, but I intend to find out.

I have a couple of new computer programs I need to figure out this week. One is a new recording software, and the other is for audio editing. The audio editing will be especially handy for the living history project the hubby’s doing for the local archives.

As most of you know, I am self-employed. I’ve been pretty low key about it because my website sucks, so something else I’ll be working on is making my website . . . un-suck.

This is final week of the A to Z Challenge on my other blog. It’s been a little more time consuming than I’d counted on, but I made a lot of friends and discovered a lot of great blogs out there. And if anyone can think of a writing themed subject starting with X, Y, or Z please let me know!

So, now that you know what I’ll be up to, what about you?

Apr 21, 2011


The Kwansaba is a non-rhyming form that consists of seven lines of seven words per line and each word can not include more than seven letters unless it's a proper noun.

It's based on Kwanzaa, the African American holiday that celebrates seven principles, or Nguzo Saba, created by Dr. Maulana Karenga. Each day of Kwanzaa emphasizes a different principle: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.

At first I thought this form would be a breeze, after all there’s no rhyme or syllable count and there’s only seven words per line. However, I kept wanting to use words that were more than seven letters. Go figure. :-)

We seek that special harmony of self,
That shared, and yet unique, spirit inside
That sends us forth to help our kin,
To build each other up in love,
Rising above trouble in heart and mind,
The first step in building a nation
Free of strife and strong of soul.

Storm clouds of the mind rush in
Logic and reason flee before the tempest
Words will cut and twist and writhe
While dark shadows bleed into the light
Ache for which there is no cure
Waiting on the edge of the abyss
For that final free fall from grace.

Apr 19, 2011

Seven Wonders of the Ancient World - Part Two

Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Legend says the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were built by King Nebuchadnezzar in 600 B.C. for his queen, Amyitis, who missed the mountains and greenery of her homeland.

The Hanging Gardens probably did not really hang but were built on terraces which were part of a ziggurat and was irrigated by water lifted up from the Euphrates. The name comes from an inexact translation of the Greek word kremastos, or the Latin word pensilis, which means not just "hanging", but "overhanging" as in the case of a terrace or balcony.

The Greek historian Diodorus Siculus gave one of the best accounts of the site:
The approach to the Garden sloped like a hillside and the several parts of the structure rose from one another tier on tier. On all this, the earth had been piled…and was thickly planted with trees of every kind that, by their great size and other charm, gave pleasure to the beholder. The water machines [raised] the water in great abundance from the river, although no one outside could see it.

Impressive not only for its beauty, the gardens would also have required an impressive feat of engineering to supply the massive structure with soil and water. There were paths and steps and fountains and gorgeous flowers. The gardens were rumoured to be about 400 feet wide, 400 feet long, and over 80 feet high. Some historians believe the gardens were built in a series of platforms that all together were 320 feet high.

Stone tablets from Nebuchadnezzar’s reign give detailed descriptions of the city of Babylonia, its walls, and the palace, but do not refer to the Hanging Gardens, which made some historians question whether the Hanging Gardens of Babylon ever actually existed.

In 1899, German archaeologist Robert Koldewey discovered a basement with fourteen large rooms with stone arch ceilings while excavating the Southern Citadel at Babylon. Ancient records indicated that only two locations in the city had made use of stone, the north wall of the Northern Citadel, and the Hanging Gardens.

The north wall of the Northern Citadel had already been found and had, indeed, contained stone. This made it seem likely that Koldewey had found the cellar of the gardens. He continued exploring the area and discovered many of the features reported by Diodorus. Finally a room was unearthed with three large, strange holes in the floor. Koldewey concluded this had been the location of the chain pumps that raised the water to the garden's roof. The foundations that Koldewey discovered measured some 100 by 150 feet. Smaller than the measurements described by ancient historians, but still impressive.

While Koldewey was convinced he'd found the gardens, some modern archaeologists call his discovery into question, arguing that this location is too far from the river to have been irrigated with the amount of water that would have been required. Also, tablets recently found at the site suggest that the location was used for administrative and storage purposes, not as a pleasure garden.

It can be argued, however, that the Hanging Gardens are not mentioned in the Babylonian stone tablets because they were considered part of the ziggurat structure and not a separate entity in itself.

We may never know for sure whether the Hanging Gardens of Babylon really did exist. If the gardens did exist, they were most likely destroyed by an earthquake in the second century B.C. In this case, the fallen remains, mostly made of mud-brick, would have slowly eroded away over the centuries.

Apr 18, 2011

Morbiferous Monday

morbiferous ~ disease-bringing

The title says it all. I’m definitely morbiferous, in the form of the Death Flu. It struck mid-week last week and it’s been kicking my butt ever since.

Needless to say, my goal of writing at the library and walking home was pretty much a dismal failure.

I’m really disappointed that I didn’t make it to my poetry group’s Thursday reading. It was our annual Young Poets night where kids from the local highschools got a chance to read.

It was only by the skin of my teeth that I managed to get my posts all up last week, although a couple of them were pretty late.

Any writing/editing above and beyond my blog posts last week was also an utter failure. When I wasn’t curled up in a ball in the recliner I was either napping or reading. Using the lap top was out of the question – I was already having an issue with being too hot and the lap top just made it worse.

Last week wasn't all doom and gloom though. The poetry reading Tuesday night was fabulous! Our emcee was awesome, and my fellow readers were sparkling. It helps that we had a great audience.

This Week’s Goals:

Tuesday: This week’s wonder of the ancient world is the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

Wednesday: Another Hump Day Hunk for your viewing pleasure.

Thursday: The poetry form this week will be the Kwansaba verse form.

Friday: Chapter 20 of Fire. So, are Pyre and Rayne walking into a trap? Don’t ask me, I won’t figure it out myself until Thursday night. :-)

Elsewhere in my week:

Tonight there’s a Scribe’s meeting and our topic is Cakes on a Train. I’m not sure if I’ll be feeling up to it or not. It’s not so much the meeting, it’s the walking home afterwards.

I’m pretty sure there’s a poetry group meeting Tuesday night. I could be wrong. The group meeting usually takes place the first Tuesday after the Thursday reading, but the e-mail with our poem-work says it’s not until the 26th. Our poem-work was to write a sound poem, a poem with more aural than literary qualities.

I figure if I can get over the Death Flu and keep up with my posting, I’ll be doing good this week.

How about you? What are you up to this week?

Apr 14, 2011

ZaniLa Rhyme

The ZaniLa Rhyme is a form created by Laura Lamarca. It has a minimum of three stanzas and no maximum poem length. There are 4 lines per stanza and the rhyme scheme for this form is abcb, with a syllable count of 9/7/9/9 per stanza.

The 3rd line is written as a conjunction and this line repeats at the 3rd line in each stanza, but each time the order is switched up. For example, if your 3rd line is: Make me belong and sing me a song, then you'll repeat it in the 2nd stanza as: Sing me a song and make me belong.



I gotta tell you. This form was a pain in the butt. That second line, which is only seven syllables, was a killer. And then of course there’s the third line, which initially I forgot was internally rhymed and when it has to make sense when switched back and forth . . . My advice to anyone attempting this form is to find your third line first, and construct your poem around it.


Darkness falling in a shroud as I
Chase the words, but they escape.
I yearn to write but the words aren’t right
I stare at the page, no poem takes shape.

It’s late at night but I can’t give up
There’s a poem I must set free
The words aren’t right but I yearn to write
Oh, why has the muse has deserted me?

As first light is appearing in the east
The poem is beyond my ken
I yearn to write but the words aren’t right
I am ready to set down my pen.

Apr 12, 2011

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World - Part One

The Great Pyramids consist of the Pyramid of Khufu (or Cheops), the somewhat smaller Pyramid of Khafre (or Chephren), and the relatively modest-sized Pyramid of Menkaure (or Mykerinos).

By far the most famous pyramid in Egypt is the Pyramid of Khufu, the biggest, tallest, and most intact. For a period of 4300 years this Pyramid was also the tallest building on earth, until the French built the Eiffel Tower in 1889.

Khufu reigned from around 2589 to 2566 BC and was the second pharaoh of the Fourth Dynasty. He was the son of another great pyramid builder, King Sneferu. Although Sneferu was remembered as a benevolent and beneficent ruler, Khufu is believed to have been a more ruthless and cruel despot.

The Pyramid of Khufu is built entirely of limestone, and is considered an architectural masterpiece. It contains around 1,300,000 blocks ranging in weight from 2.5 tons to 15 tons and is built on a square base with sides measuring about 230m (755ft), covering 13 acres. Its four sides face the four cardinal points precisely and it has an angle of 52 degrees. The original height of the Pyramid was 146.5m (488ft), but today it is only 137m (455ft) high, the 9m (33ft) that is missing is due to the theft of the fine quality limestone covering, or casing stones, by the Ottoman Turks in the 15 Century A.D, to build houses and Mosques in Cairo.

The second great pyramid was built by Khafre, Khufu’s son. Khafre was the fourth ruler of the Fourth Dynasty of Egypt, ruling from 2558-2532 BCE. His name means "Appearing like Ra.” Like his father Khufu, Khafre was depicted as a harsh, despotic ruler.

Despite this, Egypt was quite prosperous during his reign, with almost no military attacks or campaigns. The culture flourished, however, and the private tombs from his era are beautiful examples of art and architecture. In addition, the worship of the sun god Re was also prospering.

He built his pyramid at Giza next to that of his father. It’s easily recognisable by the layers of its original casing stones that still remain near its summit. This, along with the fact that it stands on a higher part of the plateau, gives the impression that it is taller than the Great Pyramid. This is an optical illusion as it is only 136m (446 ft) tall, with sides of 214.5m (704ft), a surface area of 11 acres and an angle of 53 degrees. It also has lost some of its original height through the years.

Khafre’s son, Menkaure, built the smallest of the three main pyramids on the Giza Plateau. Menkaure was a pharaoh of the Fourth dynasty of Egypt (c. 2532 BC–2503 BC). His name means "Eternal like the Souls of Re".

He is reported by the Greek historian Herodotus to have been a just and pious ruler. He was thought to have disapproved of the conduct of his father and the Egyptians praised him more than any other monarch.

Menakure’s pyramid was only a mere 65.5m (215ft) tall, nowadays 62m (203ft), with sides of only 105m (344ft) and an angle of 51.3 degrees. It is thought that this pyramid was altered during its construction, and made a lot bigger than originally planned. The original, smaller pyramid had a simple descending corridor and burial chamber, but when it was enlarged, a new corridor was built with 3 portcullises and a small panelled chamber. Later still, another burial chamber, along with a storeroom were added at a lower level. This Pyramid, like its 2 neighbours, has a north facing entrance.

Apr 11, 2011

Minimifidian Monday

minimifidian ~ having the smallest possible degree of faith

I definitely didn’t think I’d get all my posting done last week, but I’m happy to report I did. I decided on a writing theme for the A to Z Challenge, so each of the, um, 8 posts I’ve done so far for it have something to do with the craft of writing. You can check out my offerings HERE and you can check the entire list of participants HERE.

I have visited each of the 1283 participating blogs in the challenge. I’ve even friended a few and commented on more than a few. Needless to say I didn’t get much else done last week other than blog posting and blog reading. :-)

This Week’s Goals:

Tuesday: I start my series on the 7 Wonders of the World. This week’s wonder is the Great Pyramids at Giza.

Wednesday: Another Hump Day Hunk for your viewing pleasure.

Thursday: The poetry form this week will be the ZaniLa verse form.

Friday: Chapter 19 of Fire. So, is Gervais on the up and up or is he one of the raiders in disguise?

Elsewhere in my week:

Weather permitting, I’m going to get the hubby to drop me off at the library on his way to work in the morning this week. There are two reasons for this. First, I’ll have my lap top with me and I’m hoping to get some distraction-free writing done. And second, I’ll be walking home, which takes about 40 minutes, and it’ll force me to get some exercise. Of course the forecast is for rain today, tomorrow, and Friday, so we’ll have to see how it goes. Hubby doesn’t leave for work until 10, so I’ve got a bit of time to see if it’s going to clear up or not.

I’m one of five poets that were invited to do a poetry reading tomorrow night. With five of us participating, the readings won’t be long and I’ve already picked out my poems. I just need to practice them a bit.

The rest of the time I’ll be doing the usual editing and writing, writing and editing. I might even try and get a couple of posts written ahead of time. How about you? Got anything special lined up for the week?

Apr 7, 2011

Diminished Hexaverse

You’d think that a form with the name hexaverse would have six stanzas, lines, or syllables, just like as a hexagon. However, the Diminished Hexaverse begins with a five-line stanza of five syllables in each line, then a four-line stanza with four syllables each, and so on, until the last one syllable stanza ends the poem. The reducing line and syllable count is why the form is referred to as "diminished."

There is, of course, a variation called an "increasing hexaverse," which is the reverse of the diminished version, starting with one syllable and increasing lines and syllables in each stanza until culminating with a five-line stanza with five-syllable lines.

As with most syllable-based forms, rhyme and meter are to be avoided. There is no titling convention, so you can name your hexaverse anything you like.

I found this a very interesting form to work in. The diminishing aspect made the syllable count a little challenging to work in. I’m just thankful it didn’t have to rhyme as well. :-)

Debt Repaid

The light of the moon -
The song of the wind -
The rush of first love -
Magic happens when
you least expect it.

Trust in your dream -
Live out your life -
Don’t be deterred
by past mistakes.

Karmic debt
is repaid,
winding down

it is


Apr 6, 2011

Apr 5, 2011

And The Winner Is . . .

Halfway through the week I allotted for the poll, Blogger reset it on me. Fortunately, I remembered the results up to that point and I quickly wrote them down so that I wouldn’t forget. I added in the three new votes and the results are in!

First place goes to the Seven Wonders of the World
Second place goes to Prophets
And tied for Third are the Zodiac and the Chinese Zodiac

Now, you’re probably saying to yourself, “Hmm, seven wonders, this series will be over in a couple of months.” Well, you’d be wrong. There’s more that seven wonders of the world.

Just for fun, do a google search for The Seven Wonders of the World. Right now. It’s okay, I’ll wait.

See? I didn’t lie. There’s way more than just seven wonders. There’s the Ancient Wonders, the Medieval Wonders, the Natural Wonders, even the Engineering Wonders, just to name a few. We’re going to start with the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Scholars have debated for years over who compiled the first list of wonders – or as the Greeks called them, theamata, which translates as "things to be seen". It has been suggested that Callimachus of Cyrene drafted the list in the third century B.C. or Herodotus, who lived from around 484 to 425 B.C.

It’s generally agreed that Antipater, a Greek author living in the Phoenician port of Sidon came up with the original list in a poem where he lists the most remarkable creations of mankind:

I have gazed on the walls of impregnable Babylon along which chariots may race, and on the Zeus by the banks of the Alpheus, I have seen the hanging gardens, and the Colossus of the Helios, the great man-made mountains of the lofty pyramids, and the gigantic tomb of Mausolus; but when I saw the sacred house of Artemis that towers to the clouds, the others were placed in the shade, for the sun himself has never looked upon its equal outside Olympus.

– Antipater, Greek Anthology IX.58

Somewhere around the 8th century AD the walls of Babylon were dropped off the list, to be replaced by the Lighthouse of Alexandria.

Of the original seven wonders, only the Great Pyramid still exists. The others are in unrecognizable ruins, and the Hanging Gardens might never have existed at all. What we know about the wonders comes from written accounts of ancient tourists and modern archaeological research. Much of our information about the monuments is conjecture or questionable second hand accounts.

Next week we'll explore these wonders one by one, starting with the Pyramids at Giza.

Apr 4, 2011

Milquetoast Monday

milquetoast ~ very timid; unassertive person

I can’t tell you how happy I am that it’s April. March really kicked my butt so April’s bound to be better, right? Right? Please someone agree with me!

April’s’s going to be busy, that’s for sure. On my other blog I signed up for the A to Z blogging challenge. In a nutshell over 1200 bloggers agreed to write a post each day, sans Sundays, following the letters of the alphabet. So far I’ve visited 300 other blogs that are participating.

The yard was still too wet to do any raking (especially since the husband was draining water off the tarp on the pool) so Saturday I did some indoor gardening. It started out with me planting seeds for a cat garden in a small window box planter, and ended with full-fledged clipping and repotting for four hours. I must admit my plants look happier, although the cats are a little upset because I moved their favourite plant to chew on up where they can’t reach it. I’m running out of high places for plants. :-)

I didn’t get a lot of extra writing done last week, but I did get some reading done. Last week was a bad week for migraines, and because my stupid optometrist didn’t prescribe transition lenses on my glasses like I asked her to, the computer is too bright to look at for long when I’ve got a migraine. And in between migraines I was sleeping way too much from the medication I was taking for them.

This Week’s Goals:

Tuesday: The poll is closed. Check back tomorrow to see what the new series is.:-)

Wednesday: Another Hump Day Hunk for your viewing pleasure.

Thursday: The poetry form this week will be the Diminished Hexaverse.

Friday: Chapter 18 of Fire. So, was Rayne about to spill her secret? And who does that voice in the dark belong to?

Elsewhere in my week:

I spent Sunday trying to come up with an alphabetical list of choices for the challenge (it started Friday so I’ve already got two days under my belt). And of course I could just pick a random word for each day. No, I had to decide the theme my challenge around writing. So each post is about some aspect of writing. This week I’d like to try and get some of those posts written ahead of time.

I have a meeting of the Scribes tonight, and yes, I still have to get my 150 words written for that. I believe our prompt was “your earliest memory.”

Still haven’t got the taxes done. *sigh* I’ll seriously think about doing them this week. ;-)

Other than the above goals I’ll be editing and writing, writing and editing this week. How about you? What are you up to these days?