The Wurlitzer end of Omphalic fertility,
Whitened in the Fredericton snows, the theatrical
Tracery of fools altered to ice as car wheels are spun,
And slide into the intersection. Oedipus looks out
Over the frozen St. John River; Gretchen
Seeks her lost child on the bridge to Nashwaak;
Marco Polo reaches the Friendship Store
On Albert Street, and purchases ramen in bulk.
In the Gösser of memorialized time, the Urquell
Of history, little Bardolino plays on the lunar palate
And readies the receptacle for the halls of power.

Questions and Answers

What poetic techniques did you use in this poem? How much attention do you pay to form and metre?

I seldom analyze my poetic work in advance of composition, which most always springs from the first line, whose origins remain largely a mystery to me. The construction in Chrysoglott is 4+3+4(2+2), to produce an elliptical arrival of the conclusion. Enjambment is employed to introduce new concepts in the fifth and tenth lines. There is considerable use of internal alliteration, except in the two final lines, where it is terminal. The metrical line in Chrysoglott is iambic hexameter. Tone, place, and time of year are established in lines 1-3, and modern allusions presented in lines 7-8. This hexameter encloses three lines of pentameter (4-6, with the classical allusions), allowing for a slight tightening and acceleration of the movement of the poem. The conclusion consists of two lines in heptameter, a slight broadening of the tempo of the line, to allow some expansiveness of the summarizing statement. The speed of the feet are varied by means of vowel length, selection of consonants, and alteration of the rhythmic stress in the metrical unit. The final two lines, for example, are longer in length, but read more quickly, than those preceding them.


This poem “Chrysoglott” originally appeared in Canadian Literature 216 (Spring 2013): 100.

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