The Last Thylacine

In the interests in broadening our horizons, this section is devoted to verse which falls outside the parameters of rhyme and metre, such as blank verse and free verse. Registered users are welcome to post their original works here.
Post Reply
User avatar
Shelley Hansen
Posts: 2022
Joined: Sun May 04, 2014 5:39 pm
Location: Maryborough, Queensland
Contact:

The Last Thylacine

Post by Shelley Hansen » Thu May 05, 2016 4:21 pm

I guess I'd better throw my "free verse" hat in the ring too. I don't have very much non-rhyming poetry - this one was written a couple of years ago after a visit to the National Museum in Canberra. Comments welcome, please ...

The Last Thylacine
(c) Shelley Hansen

Staring from the showcase
no lustre on your fur
there is no poetry in
your dead eyes

Stripes have faded out with
no blood supply to feed
and liberate the pigment
in your skin

Once you walked in splendour
so many years ago
the Tasman forests home to
your own kind

Here in the museum
I sense the void of loss
to late to bring your vital
spark to life

Guiltily in silence
I turn with downcast face
ashamed of human failure
to protect

Have we learned the lesson
from this - the price we've paid?
Extinction is forever
no return.
Shelley Hansen
Lady of Lines
http://www.shelleyhansen.com

"Look fer yer profits in the 'earts o' friends,
fer 'atin' never paid no dividends."
(CJ Dennis "The Mooch o' Life")

mummsie
Posts: 1033
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2011 11:33 am
Location: Tumut, NSW

Re: The Last Thylacine

Post by mummsie » Thu May 05, 2016 4:43 pm

I get it Shelley but find myself looking for the rhyme. I wonder if that's because of the way its set out or maybe I just need to read a lot more free verse to grasp the concept. :?

But I'm not giving up.
Cheers
Sue
the door is always open, the kettles always on, my shoulders here to cry on, i'll not judge who's right or wrong.

User avatar
Shelley Hansen
Posts: 2022
Joined: Sun May 04, 2014 5:39 pm
Location: Maryborough, Queensland
Contact:

Re: The Last Thylacine

Post by Shelley Hansen » Thu May 05, 2016 5:00 pm

Thanks Sue, and you are probably looking for the rhyme because I can't help myself with rhythm - I have to put a bit in there, even if it is supposedly "free verse"!! Old habits die hard ;)

Cheers
Shelley
Shelley Hansen
Lady of Lines
http://www.shelleyhansen.com

"Look fer yer profits in the 'earts o' friends,
fer 'atin' never paid no dividends."
(CJ Dennis "The Mooch o' Life")

Terry
Posts: 3011
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 6:53 pm

Re: The Last Thylacine

Post by Terry » Thu May 05, 2016 5:03 pm

I also get it Shelly

But with my lack of knowledge the only thing I'm comfortable to say is that you have condensed it a heck of a lot more that mine,
so that must be a step in the right direction.

Terry

Just read your reply to Sue - You sound a bit like me Shelley.

User avatar
Shelley Hansen
Posts: 2022
Joined: Sun May 04, 2014 5:39 pm
Location: Maryborough, Queensland
Contact:

Re: The Last Thylacine

Post by Shelley Hansen » Thu May 05, 2016 5:14 pm

Yes indeed, Terry - old rhymers never die, they just lose their rhythm!! :lol:

I guess in my case I put so much effort into my rhyming verse - making sure the rhythm, rhyme and metre is correct - that it is hard to throw it all out the window! Though as I said earlier, when I do read a good free verse poem I am always "wowed" by it.

I still think your Far Horizons has good "bones".

Free verse is not always condensed into short lines - for example Ian Mudie's They'll Tell You About Me has quite long lines, as does Judith Wright's Old House. But I could see David's point about how well the shortened lines would work with your theme - turning it into a collection of thoughts rather than structured sentences.

Cheers
Shelley
Shelley Hansen
Lady of Lines
http://www.shelleyhansen.com

"Look fer yer profits in the 'earts o' friends,
fer 'atin' never paid no dividends."
(CJ Dennis "The Mooch o' Life")

mummsie
Posts: 1033
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2011 11:33 am
Location: Tumut, NSW

Re: The Last Thylacine

Post by mummsie » Thu May 05, 2016 5:34 pm

Nothing wrong with the bones of either poem Shelley. Good on you for having a go.
the door is always open, the kettles always on, my shoulders here to cry on, i'll not judge who's right or wrong.

Neville Briggs
Posts: 6946
Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2010 12:08 pm
Location: Here

Re: The Last Thylacine

Post by Neville Briggs » Thu May 05, 2016 9:59 pm

Good on you Shelley.

I find the informal type of verse very hard. I am still trying to learn.

There is a poem by Kenneth Slessor called " Beach Burial " it is not free verse, but it is a poem about looking at a tragedy and Kenneth Slessor shows by very carefully crafted language, the desolate feeling of looking at such a tragic scene. Slessor doesn't say what he feels about it, but you are left in no doubt about what he feels, by the way his poetic language shows the scene.
I really recommend that you read it carefully ( it's not long ) and think about how it achieves it's purpose.

I think that is the task of the poet, is to bring the reader to look through the poets eyes, and I don't think it matters if we are doing formal or informal verse, ballads, jokes, sad stories, protests or whatever. I am convinced that the same principle applies. Otherwise we might as well just write prose essays and avoid the torment of struggling with poetic forms.
One of my favourite sayings. "Art does not describe an event, it is an event." I reckon if we can grasp that we have learnt a lot.


I appreciate your input to our forum Shelley , it is always generous and encouraging.
Go well !! :)
Neville
" Prose is description, poetry is presence " Les Murray.

User avatar
Maureen K Clifford
Posts: 7805
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 10:31 am
Location: Ipswich - Paul Pisasale country and home of the Ipswich Poetry Feast
Contact:

Re: The Last Thylacine

Post by Maureen K Clifford » Fri May 06, 2016 9:40 am

Beach Burial is a favourite of mine although I find it very sad. I like your thylacine poem Shelley -
there is no poetry in your dead eyes
What a telling line that is. I wonder if by moving verse 3 to the top if it might make it a bit more hard hitting.
Check out The Scribbly Bark Poets blog site here -
http://scribblybarkpoetry.blogspot.com.au/


I may not always succeed in making a difference, but I will go to my grave knowing I at least tried.

Neville Briggs
Posts: 6946
Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2010 12:08 pm
Location: Here

Re: The Last Thylacine

Post by Neville Briggs » Fri May 06, 2016 10:03 am

Maureen K Clifford wrote:Beach Burial ......I find it very sad
That's the point Maureen :) nowhere in the poem does Slessor tell us that he feels sad, neither does he explicitly say isn't this awful, he shows by his use of poetic language.

If we discard the easily recognisable elements of rhyming end words and regular metric lines then we should realize that there is a very difficult task to create the imagery of feeling from metaphor, word play, repeats, alliteration etc. These things are just as important in rhyming ballads, but in free verse their absence kills the verse stone dead.
That's why Matt is so right, it is...much harder than you think.

Another good free verse for bush poets to learn from, is Les Murray's; Driving through Sawmill Towns.
Neville
" Prose is description, poetry is presence " Les Murray.

User avatar
Shelley Hansen
Posts: 2022
Joined: Sun May 04, 2014 5:39 pm
Location: Maryborough, Queensland
Contact:

Re: The Last Thylacine

Post by Shelley Hansen » Fri May 06, 2016 10:06 pm

Thanks for your encouragement, Neville - I do know Beach Burial, but I have to say my favourite Kenneth Slessor poem is Night Ride. When we travelled on the Indian Pacific from Perth to Adelaide and pulled into somewhere in the wee small hours (Port Augusta probably), the sights, sounds and smells that assailed my half-asleep senses made that poem come forcibly to mind!

I confess, despite his critical acclaim, I'm not a fan of Les Murray's poetry (sorry, but I'm incurably honest). I've tried to appreciate it - and only just recently downloaded one of his collections as an eBook - but it's not for me. Back to the old subjective nature of our craft!

That's an interesting idea, Maureen - to move Verse 3 - and worth thinking about. My idea with having the verses in the order they are, was to start and end with me in the museum, unable to meet those lifeless eyes ... and then in between, tell the story. I'd always wanted to see the thylacine - I just didn't realise how sad I would feel when I finally did meet it face to face.

Cheers
Shelley
Shelley Hansen
Lady of Lines
http://www.shelleyhansen.com

"Look fer yer profits in the 'earts o' friends,
fer 'atin' never paid no dividends."
(CJ Dennis "The Mooch o' Life")

Post Reply