Posted Notes: Election 2016 #1


ELECTION 2016 #1


Frenzied sputums of hatred,

This prehistoric

Pox-ridden creature could be

The next fucking President!

© RC Clermont 2016


Posted Notes: Austerity #5



Serfdom’s yoke exchanged

For benefits or forfeit;

Modern slavery;

We should be angry, but Brits

Lack this quality, alas.

©RC Clermont 2016

Notes on Posted Notes: Solitude #1



Notes on Posted Notes : Solitude #1


As promised, I would like to post a study, some notes on scansion and self-comment on my stanzas titled ‘Solitude’. Originally I said I would provide a comment on Solitude #1 and #2, but as there is some detail in this post regarding #1, I hope to post separate comment on #2. This post, therefore, concerns Solitude #1. My earlier post explains the background.  I trust that followers of my poetry will find scansion fun, because poetry should be taken as a serious discipline, which will help a poet develop their craft. Feedback to this post will be welcome.

Evolution of the poem

For Solitude 1 I created a structural symmetry by having a nine-line single stanza consisting of 9 syllables each, thereby making an 81-syllable verse.  In this verse, there is no ‘set’ rhyme scheme that I am aware of which would follow a seminal type ‘established’ by a well-known poet. The rhyme scheme in Solitude #1 is: abbbaaacc. I had deliberately set out from the beginning to have an a, b or c end-rhyme scheme to provide myself with a challenge. The cc in lines 8 and 9 could be seen as a rhyming couplet which normally terminates the English Shakespearean sonnets. The stanza is not the seminal Spenserian 9-line verse (which themselves consist of eight iambic pentameters and one closing hexameter). The ‘beat’ of Solitude #1 ‘found’ its natural rhythm when I created the opening line.

Line One emerged from elision. After deciding that ‘singleness’ would be the end word of Line One, I attempted other word combinations till I found that ‘To elect a state of singleness’ had a natural word flow, a more natural beat, as well as elision. I then counted the syllables, and decided that the following lines should also be of nine syllables. At the early stage I did not know how many lines there would be; I simply went with the flow.

On reviewing and editing my nine-line stanza, I also feared that by paying too much attention to Spenser, I could lose the ‘flow’ of what I began in Line One. Spoken aloud, Line One sounds naturally like ‘Twoelect estateov singleness’, which, I would suggest, is how native English speakers would say it.  In Line 2, for instance, the schwa of neither enjoins with the word following: self, so that the speaker would say it as neitheself…. Note here that British English speakers would use the schwa, but American English speakers would probably roll the ‘r’ at the end of neither. Note also that British English speakers would put emphasis on the first syllable of neither, with the flat schwa for the second, making it a trochee, whereas American English speakers would have two long syllables due to the rolling of the ‘r’, making it a spondee (as well as pronouncing the ei as the Germanic ‘ie’, as in schiessen [shoot], whereas the English would say the ei as in reisen [travel]).

Line 1 begins with statement of fact, the opinion of the writer, which was quantified in lines two and three (neithernor) and having composed the second  line that finishes with ‘purdah’, I needed to find the third line (and eventually line 4) that end-rhymed with purdah; I found ‘pariah’ and ‘insular’; this, then was end rhyme b.  For lines 5, 6, and 7 I needed a different rhyme, a or c. As line 4 has said that ‘One has not turned cold and insular’, I asked myself ‘Who might say we writers are weird loners, and are cold and insular.’? Prudes, of course, I said to myself, after all solitary writers are non-conformist, and bourgeois prejudice paints us in a bad light, so ‘prudes’ it was. This was rhyme c.

For lines six and seven I decided to keep the same rhyme as line five, and found that the consonance of the long ‘s’ sound created more force, as this was a statement to counter-argue the ‘prudes’, ergo, ‘Wrongly viewed as loneliness/when truly a reserve of wholeness. I also deliberately chose the –ness suffix, as once I elected to use loneliness, what argument, I asked myself, could I use to counter the prudes? I found the word ‘oneness’, and after that searched for synonyms; ‘wholeness’ fitted naturally into the  rhyme and syllable format I was seeking to achieve. It also fitted contextually into the counterattack against the prudes.

Speaking of consonance, and near rhymes (or pararhyme) and internal rhymes, to which I shall return, lines 8 and 9 end with –ty because I wanted, firstly, to insert multi-syllabic words which created a rapid beat to strengthen my case for solitude, as well as a new ‘c’ rhyme that was neither flat like the schwas of lines 2, 3 and 4, and to follow the consonance of the later lines of the verse. I had earlier found the word ‘chilly’, but could not initially find a place for it. This adjective (the ‘y’ sound not the –ty) fitted the assonance already created by the ‘y’ sound in the internal rhymes of: ‘by’ (L5), ‘wrongly (L6), and truly (L7) . They say slay your adverbs and adjectives, but in poetry I think they have a place if one wants the assonance or consonance. The very last word, ‘indivisibility’ is also deliberate due to the strong vowel sounds (d, v,b,t) as well as having an internal consonance of its own, with the di/vi/ si/ bi/ li sounds, and also being consonant with and pararhyming with the suffix, –ty. ‘Unsociability’ also possesses the bi/ li/ty consonance to match ‘indivisibility’.

Now to the rhymes.

The end-rhymes are: ‘singleness/prudes/loneliness/wholeness, purdah/pariah/insular, and unsociability/indivisibility.

Internal rhymes:

by/wrongly/truly/chilly, with the assonance as stated earlier with Lines 8 and 9; turned/cold/believed/viewed/instead, where there is also an consonance with prudes;

one has/oneness, which are in turn consonant with the end-rhymes for Lines 1, 5,6, and 7;

an internal para-rhyme can be found in the vowel sounds  become/turned when spoken allowed by BrEng speakers.


I won’t explore the beat pattern of the stanza, as I went with the flow, and it ensued that the Spenser form wasn’t-and couldn’t be- used, there being 9 syllables in each line. This can be seen, for instance in L1, where, as close as I could get, depending on subtle emphasis, the beat pattern is not iambic at all, but the following [long syllables underlined]:


Anapaestic [to elect]/

 iamb [a state]/

iamb [of sing…]/

trochee […leness],

or perhaps spondee [leness],

or even iamb […leness ];

or dactyl [singleness].

If dactyl is the form for ‘singleness’, then ‘a state of’ as a word group does not fit any of the above beat patterns, as ‘a’ and ‘of’ are short sounds, and the ‘a’ in state is long (as in ‘pay’ or ‘stay’).


If you have managed to reach this far, thank you. Feedback will be welcome. The next self-analysis will cover Solitude #2.


© RC Clermont 2016

Notes on Posted Notes: Solitude 1, 2 and 3


Solitude #1, #2 and #3

Before I give a scansion/ self-analysis of my first two Solitude verses (1 and 2) posted on this blog, I’ll give some background to all three written and posted thus far, for it is from ‘negative’ experiences that one can gain inspiration, and on the one hand, those people who play a part in it, through their corrosive personalities, or on the other, force of circumstance, has provided the backdrop to these verses (and also, in fact, for much of my writing).

Background: Unless a writer is living alone, then solitude could be regarded as a luxury. Through force of economic circumstances one is compelled to return to the nest, and that might not be easy to bear, after years of independence, of developing a persona, then, suddenly, one becomes a member of the precariat, educated, well-qualified, experienced but once again in the same situation as one was when one was 18 or 21 years old. It is particularly galling if the persons  in question(relatives, parents), although they grudgingly accept a wounded-winged revenant under their roof again, possess  thoroughly noxious personalities – so poisonous and vexatious they  have alienated everyone they have ever been in contact with – as well as their own blood.

For a writer, having previously been accustomed to living alone and returning home from a job they dislike to the bliss of a silent flat (few of us, one expects, can stretch to a house), forced to work, or to be looking for work -which will finance their writing until the day their craft finances itself- to living under the same roof as a caustic personality makes one crave  solitude more greatly than before. The writer is the rebel, the non-conformist, so naturally the vacuous critiques of those who live their prosaic, tunnel-vision, needs-of-the-market, anti-intellectual, un-think lives is the bane of our lives (as well as, perhaps, capitalism, the neo-liberal  government, the neighbours etc.).

Who was it who said that the pram in the hall kills creativity? WH Auden? TS Eliot? In any event, they would be right (JK Rowling is the monumental exception). Singleness, solitude is a matter of choice, not consequence for writers such as yours truly. Not merely as an economic choice, but as a state of being, that this state of oneness is essential for one’s craft. The needs of someone else, to say something at mealtimes just for the sake of saying something rather than eat in blissful silence, or the need to put a screw in the wall lest the whole building collapses, to put down one’s pen or to log out to meet the needs of a screaming small human who, naturally, would not know what ‘silence’ means, to not be able to close one’s door to one’s own space without someone else barking and bellowing that one hasn’t put back the cap  on the shampoo, or to hear the boom of the gogglebox, to hear the crap programmes that that person watches (dancing-singing talent shows , quiz shows, celebrity chit-chat, and other mindless shite); all of this, and other reasons too legion to list here, all of this is why the writer must have solitude, and silence.

One cannot choose the family one was born into (for which my ‘Blood’ verses in the Reflections series will testify), but one can choose solitude by having no attachments of one’s own if one sees one’s writing is a priority. It is not being ‘mean’ or selfish’; rather, the writer-as-rebel will argue the other party is a conformist lemming. The same applies to one’s relationships with friends, associates, and colleagues. Everyone needs one’s own space, especially writers. Not all of us possess the means for a month’s retreat to rural France, Italy, Ireland, or even a second home, or an apartment in a beautiful city in Europe in which the cultural life can provide inspiration. Hence, if one other caustic,  person in one’s household can be as frustrating and irritating as sharing a house full of toddlers high on sugary products, do not be offended if your writing friend doesn’t want company.