Whales Cry Too (a Mariannet)

In those ignorant olden days
Who would have wanted to be a whale?
Who threw that harpoon into my back?

Whales Cry Too (a Mariannet*)


Hear them cry

…..When horrific harpoons pierce their hides

…..My heart bleeds from inside

……….Seeing whales so cruelly killed

The name “Mariannet” was recently ‘coined’ by Paul (of Paul’s Poetry Playground)
>> [ Invented Poetry Forms – The Mariannet – Paul’s Poetry Playground ] for the previously unnamed poetic form that the poet Marianne Moore created to write her classic poem “The Fish” first published in 1918. The form was invented over a hundred years ago and is relatively unknown to most poets.
The mariannet is an isosyllabic rhyming poem, consisting of one or more five-line stanzas (quintains) with one syllable in the first line, three in the second, nine in the third, six in the fourth, and eight in the fifth and final line. The first two lines rhyme with each other, and so does the third and fourth, but the fifth is nonrhyming and does not rhyme with any other lines. Thus its rhyme scheme can be expressed as aabbx for each individual quintain (with x representing the nonrhyming line). In Moore’s original formatting of the form, the third and fourth lines were indented five spaces and the fifth ten spaces.
I have attached Marianne Moore’s poem “The Fish”, below Lisa Hannigan’s music/video.

The Fish” – by Marianne Moore

through black jade.
     Of the crow-blue mussel-shells, one keeps
     adjusting the ash-heaps;
          opening and shutting itself like

injured fan.
     The barnacles which encrust the side
     of the wave, cannot hide
          there for the submerged shafts of the

split like spun
     glass, move themselves with spotlight swiftness
     into the crevices—
          in and out, illuminating

turquoise sea
     of bodies. The water drives a wedge
     of iron through the iron edge
          of the cliff; whereupon the stars,

rice-grains, ink-
     bespattered jelly fish, crabs like green
     lilies, and submarine
          toadstools, slide each on the other.

     marks of abuse are present on this
     defiant edifice—
          all the physical features of

     of cornice, dynamite grooves, burns, and
     hatchet strokes, these things stand
          out on it; the chasm-side is

     evidence has proved that it can live
     on what can not revive
          its youth. The sea grows old in it.

—Marianne Moore

Ivor Steven © September 2022

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G'day, and welcome to my blog site. My name is Ivor Steven, I live in Geelong, Australia. I'm an ex-industrial chemist, and a retired plumber, and a former Carer of my wife(Carole), for 30 years, who suffered from severe MS. I Write poetry about those personal thoughts, throughout and beyond my life as a Carer. I've been blogging for over 2 years, and writing poems for 19 years. Of course a lot of my poems are about my favourite subject Carole, but since I've been blogging my writings have become quite varied, humourous, mystical, observational, and even a few monster/horror poems.

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