Mistress Bradstreet Stanza

Mistress Bradstreet Stanza is a stanzaic verse attributed to American poet John Berryman (1914-1972) patterned after the frame of his 57 stanza poem Homage to Mistress Bradstreet which he said was developed after a life time of studying Yeats.

The Mistress Bradstreet Stanza is:
• stanzaic, written in any number of octaves.
• accentual verse, composed with 5-5-3-4-5-5-3-6 stresses per line.
• rhymed, rhyme scheme abcbddba, the a and d rhymes are a constant although occasionally the rhyme changes to abcbddca. 

Homage to Mistress Bradstreet by John Berryman (1st 3 stanzas) 

The Governor your husband lived so long
moved you not, restless, waiting for him? Still,
you were a patient woman.—
I seem to see you pause here still:
Sylvester, Quarles, in moments odd you pored
before a fire at, bright eyes on the Lord,
all the children still.
‘Simon …’ Simon will listen while you read a Song.

[2] Outside the New World winters in grand dark
white air lashing high thro’ the virgin stands
foxes down foxholes sigh,
surely the English heart quails, stunned.
I doubt if Simon than this blast, that sea,
spares from his rigour for your poetry
more. We are on each other’s hands
who care. Both of our worlds unhanded us. Lie stark,

[3] thy eyes look to me mild. Out of maize & air
your body’s made, and moves. I summon, see,
from the centuries it.
I think you won’t stay. How do we
linger, diminished, in our lovers’ air,
implausibly visible, to whom, a year,
years, over interims; or not;
to a long stranger; or not; shimmer & disappear.

Pasted from http://www.poetrymagnumopus.com/index.php?showtopic=1885
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

Tarnish (Form: Mistress Bradstreet Stanza)

In retrospect will history decide
that Hillary achieved her life-time goal
ascending to a stage
where she could play a noted role?
What cost, ignoring Clinton’s frequent trysts?
(His charm and force few maidens could resist.)
She wore the martyr role,
and seemed to benefit by standing by his side.

His faults his party clearly could abide
and character was deemed a price too high.
Hillary could not be blamed.
Yet global standards must apply.
She’ll likely never rise to stand a midst
the Goldas and the Thatchers who were kissed
with conviction noted and untamed.
Most likely a nod to greatness will be denied.

© Lawrencealot – December 29, 2014

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Mistress Bradstreet  Stanza

Dream Song

The Dream Song at first glance could probably be considered a style or genre of poetry because of the prominent “dream theme”. But with more careful examination, the Dream Song is a framed verse form with a specific stanzaic prescription. It was created by American poet, John Berryman’s (1914-1972) book of 77 Dream Songs . He continued to write Dream Songs after the book was published and there are over 400 of his Dream Songs in circulation. The poems seem to me to be recordings of Berryman’s dreams in verse. They are often disjointed and bizarre although the frame of the poems remains consistent. There is a reoccurring character Henry who as a black faced minstrel is called Mr. Bones. The poems include “wrenched syntax, scrambled diction, extraordinary leaps of language and tone, and wild mixture of high lyricism and low comedy” . Poem Hunter.com.

The Dream Song is:
• a verse form, the poem is written in 3 sixains, 18 lines.
• metric, Accentual, usually L1,L2,L4,& L5 5 stresses and L3 & L6 have 3 stresses. As long as 4 lines are longer and L3 & L6 are shorter, the rhythm is jerky much like the content.
• rhymed, rhyme patterns vary from stanza to stanza however there are normally 3 rhymes per stanza. abcabc abccba, aabccb, abbacc are a few of the patterns. abcbac is the pattern of the stanza below.

Dream Song #112 by John Berryman 

My framework is broken, I am coming to an end,
God send it soon. When I had most to say
my tongue clung to the roof
I mean of my mouth. It is my Lady’s birthday
which must be honored, and has been. God send
it soon.

I now must speak to my disciples, west
and east. I say to you, Do not delay
I say, expectation is vain.
I say again, It is my Lady’s birthday
which must be honoured. Bring her to the test
at once.

I say again, It is my Lady’s birthday
which must be honoured, for her high black hair
but not for that alone:
for every word she utters everywhere
shows her good soul, as true as a healed bone,—
being part of what I meant to say.

Pasted from http://www.poetrymagnumopus.com/index.php?showtopic=623
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

My Example

Re-curring Dream (Dream Song)

Alone, depressed, confused, but well, I dream.
I’m working at a place I’ve never seen.
Achievement comes with ease.
I’m asked to make a lunch run for the team
Two blocks away exists a small canteen
“Get crackers, coffee, cheese!”

The walk there’s pleasant, takes no time at all.
The staff all greet me smiling, with good cheer
and hand me tasty eats.
I leave and find I’m in a massive mall
it’s blocks across and doors are nowhere near,
and none return to streets.

I ask for help, and people point the way;
they’re wrong! I ask again and people stare…
Of course they do, I’m nude.
I criss and cross the sprawling mall all day
I’m nearly nuts but suffer no despair –
I’ve all the friggin’ food.

© Lawrencealot – December 7, 2014

 

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Dream Song