Try a Triolet

Day #2 of NaPoWriMo today!

I am learning a lot.  The prompt for today is to write a “triolet”, which is an 8 line poem where lines 1, 4 & 7 are identical and lines 2 & 8 are identical.  The rhyme scheme goes like this: ABaAabAB.  Having never studied poetry, this is all new to me and fascinating to engage.  What do you do with a structure?  Play with it for a while, then take it apart and do something else, like with toy blocks?  There’s no “right” way to play, is there?  I think not.  So I go ahead and see what happens.

I was thinking about the repetitive nature of this particular pattern, and it reminded me of a conversation I had with Steve on a recent neighborhood walk.  We were talking about getting old, how older people spend their time until they die, the change in energy and the prelude to death.  My husband was technically “working” the day before he died, although by that time, he was working from home at the dining room table, from a laptop equipped with Zoom Text that made each letter on the screen about 4 inches high.  My father, in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s, didn’t move or eat or do anything on his own.  He eventually succumbed to pneumonia after he lost the ability to swallow food without aspirating it.   My grandmother died in a nursing home rather uneventfully.  She had lived with us for several years before moving into a place that could care for her more comprehensively.  She spent her days watching TV in her room and would come to the dinner table and try to make conversation, often beginning with “They say….”  My father always insisted she cite her sources.  “Who says?  Where did you hear that?”

Our concepts of dying are so complicated and irrational.  What makes “sense” economically often offends morally.  Questions, decisions, choices, preferences and emotions arise.   What do we do with them?  How do we communicate our wishes for life and death?  To whom?  I don’t have any definite answers.  I hope I get to communicate what’s important to me to someone who is listening.  I hope my views are respected.  What that might look like, I cannot tell.  Steve mentioned casually at breakfast that he’d like Schubert’s Octet played at his funeral.  I asked him who he thought might be there.  He couldn’t even say.  I guess what matters is that I heard him when he said it.

 

Triolet for My Grandmother

There was nothing good on TV that day.

She turned her face toward the wall and died.

The years had slipped by while she wasted away.

There was nothing good on TV that day.

She’d listened and heard what they had to say.

They might have been right, but often they lied.

There was nothing good on TV that day.

She turned her face toward the wall and died.

(photo credit: Josh)

8 thoughts on “Try a Triolet

  1. All that repetition reminds me of the blues:

    My Ol’ Mammy done left me
    She walked through that Big Door
    I’ll sing it lonesome, bereftly
    My Ol’ Mammy done left me
    She broke down and left me
    Can’t watch Oprah no more
    My Ol’ Mammy done left me
    She walked through that Big Door.

  2. I’ve written a few triolets and I’m tempted to cheat and post one of those. I won’t, though!

    Making Plans
    I have become the sort of person who
    makes choices only grown-ups get to make.
    It came about so fast, I never knew
    I had become the sort of person who
    could play adult so well you’d think it true.
    It’s not. There’s been some terrible mistake–
    I have become the sort of person who
    makes choices only grown-ups get to make.

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