Nov 30, 2022

Poetry Form of Trolaan

Trolaan is an interesting form created by Valerie Peterson Brown. It consists of four quatrains (a stanza of four lines), each line having a similar number of syllables. Each line of the quatrain begins with the same letter and the rhyme scheme is abab.

Starting with the second stanza you use the second letter of the first line of the first stanza to start each line of the second stanza.

On the third stanza you will use the second letter on the first line of the second stanza to begin each line of the third stanza.

On the fourth stanza you will use the second letter on the first line of the third stanza to begin each line of the fourth stanza.

I tried to do a schematic, but it’s pretty much impossible without the first word of each stanza. Hopefully you can follow along with my example – it’s not really as bad as it looks!

My example turned out a little darker than I’d intended, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes.

Fallen Angel

Cold wind snaking through the night
Cutting the air with a wicked knife;
Capering snowflakes, like a blight
Cover a world devoid of life.

Obsequious spirits dance and sway,
Oft cast shadows looming near,
Ousting warmth they seek to stay,
Oblivious to the dangers here.

Balefire moon shines high o’er head
Bewitching in its awesome light.
Beguiling ice is swiftly spread
Banishing dreams in a blaze of white.

Abandoned hopes lay scattered ‘round
Adorning landscapes bleak and sere;
Angel lost and gone to ground
Alone, betrayed by life and fear.

Nov 28, 2022

Dentists and Kittens

My curse upon thy venom'd stang,
That shoots my tortur'd gums alang;
And thro' my lugs gies mony a twang,
Wi' gnawing vengeance;
Tearing my nerves wi' bitter pang,
Like racking engines!

— Robert Burns, "Address to the Tooth-ache," 1789

Be true to your teeth and they won't be false to you.
— Soupy Sales

"I think," said the dentist, stepping outside again, "I'd better give you gas." Then he moved aside and hummed an air from a light opera, while he mixed up cement.
I sat up in my shroud. "Gas!" I said. "Yes," he repeated, "gas or else ether or a sulphuric anæsthetic or else beat you into insensibility with a club or give you three thousand volts of electricity."
These may not have been his exact words. But they convey the feeling of them very nicely.

— Stephen Leacock

Well, it took longer than I expected, but the offending tooth is gone.

Gone, but not forgotten, as it left behind a hole in my jaw bone, a couple of stitches in my gum, and swelling in my jaw and neck. And medication that makes me alternate between sleepy and queasy.

I saw the dental surgeon who decided because the root of the tooth had grown into my jawbone, was really brittle, and was sandwiched between two nerves, he couldn’t go in with a local anesthetic. And because the regular anesthetic had to be administered on an empty stomach, he couldn’t do it that day. And in fact, he didn’t have another open appointment until January 7th.


Fortunately, they had another dental surgeon at that office, and with a little finagling, they got me in the following week. It meant another week of escalating pain, but it was better than January 7th.

Now all that’s left is for the gum to heal and the swelling to go down.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

The kittens have pretty much taken over the house. They’re still not allowed in the basement, but they seem to be okay with that because they’d really rather be where the people are anyway. And they’re still getting locked up at night because we can’t really trust them not to get into trouble while we’re sleeping. They don’t seem to mind that either.

Maybe after Christmas we’ll give it a try, you know, after the Christmas tree has been put away for another year. Or what’s left of the tree. I’m not looking forward to that, let me tell you. They both like to climb. Good thing our decorations are kitten friendly.

Dinsdale is over the sniffles he had, thanks to a week’s worth of antibiotics from the vet. And apparently he made up for lost time as far as gaining weight. When we got them, Dinsdale weighed 2.8 pounds and Khaos weighed 2.1 pounds.

At their first vet’s appointment Dinsdale weighed 2.14 pounds and Khaos weighed 3 pounds even. When they went for their booster shots last week, Dinsdale weighed 5 pounds, and Khaos weighed 4.4! No wonder we’re going through the kitten chow so fast!

They seem to get into equal amounts of trouble, but Dinsdale is the more affectionate of the two, and Khaos is more feisty. He’s more cuddly, and she purrs louder. They’re getting better at respecting the laptop, but when the zoomies hit, all bets are off!

Nov 13, 2022

Blogging Break

Due to the extreme pain from an impacted wisdom tooth that has a cavity in it, I will be taking a blogging break this week. Unless I find something to make the pain less extreme.

The tooth is affecting the whole lower right side of my jaw. Yes, I’ve been to the dentist and the only real solution is to have it removed by a dental surgeon. Unfortunately, I can’t get in to see him until the 19th.

I’ve been taking Advil for the pain, but it’s not doing much. At most I get an hour, maybe two, where its bearable. It was bad enough on Saturday that I went back to the dentist, but I don’t think I impressed upon him how much it hurt, because he told me to keep up the Advil every 6 hours. *sigh*

I’ve pretty much doubled the dose, and it still hurts a lot. Clove oil does not help, nor does Orajel, because the pain is due to the pressure the impacted tooth is putting on the other teeth.

In any case, the pain is a little too distracting to me to focus on getting any writing done. I’m about 3,000 words behind in my NaNo, and I’m sure it’s only going to get worse as the week progresses.

I’m going to phone the dentist’s office tomorrow, and with any luck I can get him to prescribe something. Otherwise, it’s going to be a long week indeed.

Nov 9, 2022

Katauta Poetry Form

Don’t you just love the Japanese with their tiny little poems and their combinations of five and seven syllables? I know I do! And it’s because of them you’re getting a new form this week instead of a recycled one. :-)

Today’s form is the Katauta, which dates back to 8th century Japan. It consists of 19 onji, or as we call them, syllables. There is a break after the fifth and twelfth onji, giving us a structure of 5, 7, 7.

The first line is a question, and the following two should reflect back on it with an answer. Traditionally, the Katauta is an emotional statement, usually addressed to a lover. Multiple Katautas act as a question and answer conversation between lovers.

I gotta admit, I found this form a little harder to do than I expected. Short poem, short syllable count – what could be easier, right? I think it was the whole question and answer thing that tripped me up. So I took a look at some other examples of the Katauta, and surprise, surprise. I only found one in a question/answer format, and it was actually just one long question.

If you ignore the content format, the Katauta is as addictive as the Haiku or Senryu. It’s a little more challenging with the question/answer format. And as you’ll see by my examples, the whole emotional statement and/or conversation between lovers didn’t happen. Although I did kind of link a question driven Katauta with a non-question one.

Is winter coming?
Yes, says the shortening days
and the frost crisp morning grass.

Cold and crisply bright
the autumn days turn into
translucent autumnal nights.

Where is the moonlight?
The brightness becomes hidden
under a red shadow haze.

A sliver of light
gives us hope of the return
of the red sun hidden moon.

Nov 7, 2022

That Time of Year

You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight saving time.
— Dave Barry

I don't really care how time is reckoned so long as there is some agreement about it, but I object to being told that I am saving daylight when my reason tells me that I am doing nothing of the kind. I even object to the implication that I am wasting something valuable if I stay in bed after the sun has risen. As an admirer of moonlight I resent the bossy insistence of those who want to reduce my time for enjoying it. At the back of the daylight saving scheme I detect the bony, blue-fingered hand of Puritanism, eager to push people into bed earlier, and get them up earlier, to make them healthy, wealthy and wise in spite of themselves.
— Robertson Davies

An extra yawn one morning in the springtime, an extra snooze one night in the autumn is all that we ask in return for dazzling gifts. We borrow an hour one night in April; we pay it back with golden interest five months later.
— Winston Churchill

It’s that time of year again, when I complain about the time change.

Less than 40% of the world changes to DST in the spring and back to standard time in the fall. In 2020, Scientific American published an article about how governments are considering abolishing it and sticking to just one time, but I’m still waiting to see this being implemented.

“Spring forward, fall back.” The fall time change isn’t so bad because we gain an hour, but I’ve yet to meet anyone who enjoys the spring, when we lose an hour.

Did you know your risk of a stroke or heart attack increases soon after a time shift? And it’s already been proven there’s an increase of traffic fatalities and other accidents due to the spring time change.

This is because it’s not just a change of an hour, it’s a misalignment of your circadian rhythm. Whenever we disrupt our circadian rhythm it increases our stress response, which in turn takes a toll on the heart and brain.

When you’re in standard time, the sun at noon (in most places) is right above your head. When you’re in daylight saving time for eight months of the year, you’re an hour off. You’re getting not enough light in the morning, and too much light in the evening. And it only gets worse when summer approaches because the days are getting longer and you’re getting light well into the evening when you should be getting less light so your body can get ready for bed.

If we do get rid of the transition, the best option is to stay on standard time, getting rid of daylight savings time. This is because light is important for our well being, our mood, and our sleep. Ask anyone whose mood is affected by too many dark days.

Getting enough light, especially in the winter, is critical. With permanent standard time we have our light in the morning, when we need it, and you have dark in the summer, when we need it. With permanent daylight saving time we get too much light too late in the evening and we have trouble falling asleep because we need the dark to create enough natural melatonin.

Unfortunately, if we do get a permanent time, daylight savings will most likely be our new standard. As far as I’m concerned it doesn’t matter as long as we stay consistent. If I can make the adjustment twice a year, I’m sure I can adjust when it’s the rest of my life.

In 2020, legislation was passed by the Ford government to do away with the time change. However, it can’t be enacted until the province of Quebec and the state of New York are ready to follow suit. And it appears the wheels of government drag very slowly.

In March of this year, the Sunshine Protection Act, a bill that “makes daylight saving time the new, permanent standard time, effective November 5, 2023,” was passed by the U.S. Senate. But it still has to make it through congress, and then the president before it can be made a law.

So cross your fingers, maybe 2023 will the last time we see the time change.

Nov 2, 2022

Bev-A-Lyn Rhyme

This is one of the obscure forms I found last week when I was researching the Sextilla. It was invented by Chazz Combs, and when I tried to do some research on him, I found two more forms he invented.

This is a 12-line poem that is both syllabic and rhyming, but with varying line lengths. The syllable count is 5,7,9,2,14,14,11,2,9,7,5,2 and the rhyme scheme is a a a b c c c d e e e f. The 2-syllable lines don’t rhyme and usually have their own message. Maybe it would be a little easier to understand with a schematic:


Technically, this falls under the category of a shape poem because you’re supposed to center it when you’re done. I’ve done other shape poems before, but I think this is the first one I’ve done that has a rhyme to it. I hate to admit it, but it was kind of fun, although the 14-syllable lines were a little tricky.


Leaves are turning gold,
the weather is turning cold
Autumn is here, a sight to behold.
A hunter’s moon is riding high in the chill sky tonight,
bathing the sleeping world below in its magical light,
setting the stage for winter’s sharp bite.
White frost enshrouds the trees and the grass
turning the world into glass,
leaves falling en masse.