Archive for April 17th, 2020

Poetry Friday: Zeno

Poetry Friday round-up is with Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone

Have you heard of the Zeno form? It’s one of my favorites that I’d forgotten about until I made a “Poetry on the Bayou” episode on my YouTube channel. I’ve been recording myself sitting outside on the back deck overlooking the Bayou Teche. I’m reading poems from my book Bayou Song.

This week I read a Zeno about cypress knees, a strange phenomenon for the bald cypress trees which are prolific around the shores of the bayou. Some people cut the cypress knees and use them to carve decorations or paint on. There is no solid research on how or why the cypress trees make their knees. And my husband, aka the yard man, curses how they interrupt his mowing flow.

Listen to a Cypress Zeno and learn to write a Zeno poem.

A zeno follows a mathematical sequence for a syllable count of 8,4,2,1,4,2,1,4,2,1. J. Patrick Lewis originated the form and added that the 1 syllable lines should rhyme.

With students, I enjoyed adding the element of a “zine” to create a “Zeno-Zine.” You can see a previous posts about making Zeno-Zines for Dot Day and in Summer Poetry Swap.

Today I released a monarch butterfly that I had sheltered in a habitat for two weeks. The caterpillar came as “lagniappe” on a milkweed plant I bought nearly three weeks ago. The caterpillar made its chrysalis on a leaf. I wanted to plant the milkweed in the garden, so I taped the leaf to the top of the butterfly net, only to have the tape release, and the chrysalis end up falling to the floor. I had luckily taken precaution and placed bubble wrap on the floor. Once it fell, I realized that the tape was sticking too well to the bubble wrap, so I just decided to leave it alone. I really wasn’t sure if it would develop. Call it the miracle of nature or the resilience of monarchs, but the butterfly emerged yesterday, full and complete. This calls for celebration in a Zeno poem.

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