Originally done quite theatrically and set to music, the ‘ode’ is an archaic form of lyric poetry, developed in Ancient Greece. In modern times, the ode has been refurbished into different types of poems in praise of, or dedication to particular persons, places, things, or events. This is especially true with the ‘English Ode,’ proponents of which have included such notable poets as Keats, Wordsworth and Percy Shelly.
The classic format for the English Ode would be stanzas consisting of ten verses --- with a rhyming scheme of a, b, a, b, c, d, e, c, d, e. That notwithstanding, one of the three major types of odes is called the ‘Irregular Ode,’ which has no formal structure, meter or rhyming scheme whatsoever. The other two types of ode are called --- the ‘Pindaric’ and the ‘Horation’ odes.

The ‘Pindaric Ode’ is named after the ancient Greek poet Pindar, who is generally credited with creating the form. These Pindaric Odes were normally performed ceremoniously at formal settings, or functions. This was especially true in celebrating military, or athletic victories.
As stated, the Pindaric Odes were quite theatric, set to music and began with an opening, called ‘the strophe.’ Comparable in some ways to the ‘volta’ used in sonnet forms, the word “strophe” simply means ‘to turn.’ In essence, the ‘strophe’ is likened to the first part of an argument. In ancient times it would be sung on the stage by a chorus. While performing the strophe, the chorus would ‘turn,’ moving in procession from stage-right, to stage-left.
The strophe would then be followed by the ‘antistrophe.’ If the strophe is seen as the introduction, or the “first part of an argument” --- the antistrophe represents the ‘second part’ of that argument. It may also simply be a deeper exploration of the topic, presented in the strophe.
Just as ‘strophe’ means “to turn” --- the word ‘antistrophe’ means "to turn back." Accordingly, the chorus would move, ‘turning’ in the reverse direction, while reciting the antistrophe. In this way, the antistrophe functions as a reply, or retort to the strophe. The antistrophe may also be used as a ‘red herring’ to muddy the subject and make it difficult for the audience to guess the ode’s conclusion.
Finally, the Pindaric Ode is concluded with an ‘epode.’ The word epode means "after the song." Comparable to a book’s ‘epilogue,’ it is the last part, and gets ‘the last word!’ Also similar to the final couplet of a sonnet, the epode ties together any of the story’s ‘loose ends,’ or serves as the ‘moral of the story.’ The epode is also where the chorus would move center-stage and convey, usually in a different meter of verse than the strophe and antistrophe --- the ‘grand finale’ of the ode.

As an example, here’s the opening of a Pindaric, ‘English Ode’ by William Wordsworth:
“Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood”
There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight
To me did seem
Appareled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;--
Turn wheresoe’er I may
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

The ‘Horation Ode’ was developed in ancient Rome by the poet Horace. While following the Pindaric structure of strophe, antistrophe and epode, it is much more informal in its nature. This type of ode is not as ceremonial, or theatrical as the Pindaric Ode. It need only be narrated and may, or may not be performed with a chorus. It also differs in that the form of the first stanza, the meter of verse, must be repeated in subsequent stanzas, including the epode. However, the form and meter of the first stanza, is left up to the poet. Here’s an example of a Horatian Ode stanza by John Keats:

Ode to a Nightingale
A Horation Ode
By John Keats

“My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
'Tis not through envy of the happy lot,
But being too happy in thy happiness,-
That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees,
In some melodious plot
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
Singest of summer in full-throated ease.”

As mentioned, the third type of ode is called the ‘Irregular Ode,’ which only has the requirement of being a stanza of verse in praise of, or dedication to someone, something or someplace. This would be my personally preferred type of ode to craft. Here’s an example of one of my Irregular Odes --- and a personal favorite, to recite at public readings.


An ‘Irregular Ode’

(Excerpted from the book “In Search of an Eternal Buzz” - Philip Kent Church)

Though I prayed, swatted and sprayed,

To just keep my house neat,

And, time’s since, a bunch - the occasional crunch –

Beneath my feet.

Then my cat has no doubt, and spits it out,

With no free meal today,

Nothing truer has been said, though dead -



One of the joys of writing poetry is found within the versatility of poetry itself! There are myriad types, forms and methods to choose from in writing poetry and new types are being created all the time. Among the more modern types are ‘Picture Poems!’ Also known as ‘visual’ and ‘concrete’ poetry, ‘picture poetry’ is ideal for getting children involved in writing, or anyone who finds mixing poetry with art a novel idea. Picture poetry can be fun to create! Essentially, it is just an image, any image, created out of words. Although the term is modern, the notion of arranging letters to enhance a poem’s meaning is ancient. This type of writing has been seen in Greek poetry, especially for religious art, as old as the 3rd century BCE! A classic example can be found in the works of 17th century poet George Herbert. His poem, "Easter Wings", was printed on 2 pages - with one stanza per page turned sideways, to resemble a bird with outstretched wings. Picture poetry can be as simple or complex as you like. Rhythm, rhyming scheme and meter aren’t as important in this form as it is in others. As of a matter of fact, a simple method is to draw an outline of your subject ( trees, dogs, flowers etc. ) and simply ‘fill-in’ the drawing with your poem’s words!
Of course, there are some classic poetic forms which, executed correctly, result in a particular geometric shape. One example of this is known as ‘The Diamante.’ The Diamante is composed of 7 lines. These lines are written in such a way as to form the shape of a diamond, hence the name ‘diamante!’ The form is fairly modern, being developed in 1969 by the writer Iris Tiedt.
The form is accomplished by word ‘types,’ rather than metered syllables, to form its lines. The important thing to remember is that the Diamante has 2 subjects – a ‘beginning subject’ and an ‘opposite, ending subject.’ So, the ‘beginning subject’ of the piece is named using only 1 word in the first line. Then, the second line must consist of 2 adjectives describing that subject. Then, the third line must have 3 verbs which are related to the subject. A fourth line then has four nouns, and here it gets a little tricky. Of the 4 nouns, the first 2 are related to the subject, but only the first two nouns are related to the first subject. The other two words describe, or are related to the ‘ending or opposite subject.’ The remaining lines are simply put in reverse, relating to the ending subject. Below is the form:
Verb - Verb - Verb
Noun-Noun ---- Noun-Noun
Verb - Verb - Verb

( Author unknown )
Sunny Bright
Playing Sweating Burning
Sun Light Darkness Moon
Scaring Setting Sleeping
Black Stars

While there are many ways to compose a ‘picture poem,’ my favorite is called ‘The Fibonacci.’ I like the ‘Fibonacci’ – or ‘FIB’ – because of its simplicity to create and its profound role in the ‘language of creation’ – mathematics!
Known simply as Fibonacci, Leonardo Bonacci ( 1170 – 1250 ) was an Italian mathematician and considered to be "the most talented Western mathematician of the Middle Ages.” In one of his many books, he addressed the growth of a rabbit population. What he discovered was a naturally occurring sequence of numbers. This would come to be known as the ‘Fibonacci Sequence.’ In the Fibonacci sequence, each number is the sum of the previous two numbers added together. The sequence is - 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, - etc. The Fibonacci Sequence is nature's numbering system. It can be found everywhere in nature, from plant leaves to the patterns of flower petals, the spikes of pinecones and those of pineapples. The numbers of the Fibonacci Sequence can be found in the growth of every living thing, including cells, and even human beings! Consider the fact that we humans have 8 fingers with 3 bones in each finger and 2 thumbs with 2 bones each, equaling 5 digits on each hand!

The Fibonacci poetic form, or ‘Fib’ was developed by writer Gregory Pincus. The ‘Fib’ is a Sestet, or 6 line stanza, containing 20 syllables. It is the syllable count per line which follows the Fibonacci Sequence of 1/1/2/3/5/8 – It’s just that simple! Below is an example of the form written by Pincus himself:
(1) One
(1) Small,
(2) Precise,
(3) Poetic,
(4) Spiraling mixture:
(8) Math plus poetry yields the Fib.
Gregory Pincus
There you have it! Using this information, you’re invited to write your own ‘picture poem,’ or ‘Fib’ using any of the different forms described.

Go outside for a stroll and take a good look around. Focus on the details you might normally miss. Grasp any exceptional moment, feeling or image you encounter in nature. Concentrate on how it makes you feel. Discover what is important about this encounter, hidden within the details. Is there something remarkable or surprising about the encounter? More importantly – is there a story to be told?

This is part of the pre-writing process of the famous Japanese form of poetry called ‘Haiku.’ The term Haiku is loosely applied to any short, impressionistic poem, but there are certain characteristics that are commonly associated with the genre. These would include, but aren’t limited to, a focus on some aspect of nature or the seasons - a contemplative or impressionistic subject. Imagery predominates over ideas and statements in haiku, so that meaning is typically suggestive, requiring participation by the reader. The avoidance of metaphor and use of non-rhyming lines are hallmarks for the haiku form.

Previously called hokku, haiku was given its current name at the end of the 19th century. The fundamental aesthetic quality of both hokku and haiku is that - it is internally sufficient, independent of context, as a complete work. Haiku is just 1 of the 8 major Japanese poetry forms, which are:
haiku · haikai · kanshi · waka · hokku · renga · renku · tanka

An English Haiku is a very short poem in the English language, following to a greater or lesser extent the form and style of the Japanese haiku. A typical haiku is a 3 line observation about a fleeting moment involving nature. The first haiku written in English date from the early 20th century, influenced by English translations of traditional Japanese haiku, and the form has grown in popularity ever since. Arguably, the first successful haiku in English was "In a Station of the Metro" by Ezra Pound, published in 1913, even though, excluding the title, it is only two lines long. A number of mainstream poets, including Pound, wrote what they called hokku, usually in a 5 – 6 - 4 syllable pattern. Amy Lowell published several hokku in her book "What's O'Clock" (1925; winner of the Pulitzer Prize). Individualistic haiku-like verses by the innovative Buddhist poet and artist Paul Reps appeared in print as early as 1939. Other Western writers and well-known English poets have written some haiku, including those of the Beat era, such as Jack Kerouac and Richard Wright, who all wrote original haiku in English. Unfortunately though, their haiku are not considered an important part of their work. However, Haiku has also proven popular in schools as a way to encourage the appreciation and writing of poetry among students.

The English Haiku is written in a 3 line stanza composed of 17 syllables, arranged in a 5–7–5 syllabic meter. Preferably, the entire Haiku should be expressed in one breath. Haikus employ little to no punctuation or capitalization, except proper nouns which are usually capitalized.

1st LINE - 5 Syllables
2nd LINE -7 Syllables
3rd LINE - 5 Syllables

Consider this Haiku I wrote in 2012

Misty, and brilliant, = 5 syllables
Formidable, blue mountains, = 7 syllables
Arcane, and ancient. = 5 syllables
- Philip Kent Church

There you have it! Using this information, you’re invited to write your own Haiku using any information on the described form.

***MUST EDIT - Wouldn’t it be a crime to discuss the history of poetry without mentioning the creation of the sonnet form? While many of us simply learned to distinguish between Petrarchan and Shakespearean sonnets in a high school or college English class, it’s important to know that these works are fundamental to the history of verse. Traditionally, sonnets are written in iambic pentameter and the rhyme scheme varies depending upon whether you’re looking at an Italian or an English poem.
Petrarca, for whom the Petrarchan sonnet is named, is perhaps one of the most famous early writers of the sonnet. Following his work in the 13th century, other poets created variations of the sonnet, but it became best known as an English poetic form through the work of William Shakespeare in the 16th century. Where did the poetic form lead after the sonnet? Elizabethan poetry of the 1500s soon shifted into Restoration poetry and a marked turn away from the sonnet. ***
Francesco Petrarca ( Petrarch ) was born in 1304 in Italy and is considered to be the ‘Poet Laureate’ of the Renaissance. He was a renowned poet and scholar who travelled Europe and England, reviving interest in the classical literature, which existed prior to the Renaissance. Petrarch had a substantial influence on English poetry, beginning with Chaucer and lasting to the 1800s! It would be Petrarch’s sonnet structure which, with minor changes, would eventually become the structure for the Shakespearian, or English Sonnet. While the English Sonnet is a 14 line poem of ‘Iambic Pentameter,’ divided into 4 stanzas ( 3 quatrains & 1 couplet ) - The Petrarchan Sonnet’s 14 lines of iambic pentameter are divided into only 2 stanzas. The first is composed of 8 lines and is called an ‘octave’ which is followed by the second stanza, composed of 6 lines and is called a sestet. The rhyming scheme for the octave is a,b,b,a,a,b,b,a, but the rhyming scheme for the sestet can be either of 2 schemes, which are c,d,e,c,d,e, or c,d,c,d,c,d! Classically, the Petrarchan Sonnet presents a question, an argument, or observation with the opening octave stanza. Then, the sestet stanza ‘answers’ – addresses - what has been posed. This creates the ‘turn,’ called the ‘volta’ between the 8th and 9th lines, just as the volta occurs in the structure of the English Sonnet.
IAMBIC PENTAMETER – “The ‘pentameter’ simply means a 10 syllable verse divided into 5 iambs, hence ‘penta’ ( meaning 5 ). The ‘iamb’ is called an ‘iambic foot’ being comprised of 2 syllables where the first syllable is unaccented and the second syllable accented. So, 5 iambic feet equals 1 line of verse in ‘iambic pentameter!’ To better understand the iambic foot, think of a heartbeat -- ta-DUM, ta –DUM, ta-DUM. Notice how the first syllable ‘ta’ is not accented, but the second syllable ‘DUM’ is accented – ta-DUM is one iambic foot. 5 iambic feet = iambic pentameter – ta-DUM, ta-DUM, ta-DUM, ta-DUM, ta-DUM.”

Remember, the sonnet is executed in 2 stanzas - the "octave" ( 8 lines ) and the "sestet" ( 6 lines ). The octave poses the theme or problem using the rhyming scheme a,b,b,a,a,b,b,a. Then the sestet resolves, or addresses the theme of the octave, following either the rhyming schemes of c,d,e,c,d,e or c,d,c,d,c,d. Here is an example of 1 of my Petrarchan Sonnets:

By Philip Kent Church
An octave with a sestet rhymed abbaabba & cdcdcd

A - The Sun proceeds the mountain’s sky in kind,
B - As long traveled a trail is trekked to gain.
B - A life prevailed upon, journeyed to feign,
A - Like some ancient clockwork refused to wind.
A - The whole of truth, with which we hold in mind,
B - It’s what we base ourselves upon, be lain.
B - We must remember all that may pertain,
A - Or find we are among the deaf and blind,
VOLTA (Turn)
C - As like autumn’s dead leaves discard the trees,
D - And mountain peaks resound without reply.
C - We live our lives through all with aim to please,
D - But there remains, of hope, hopeful retry.
C - To gain the chance to change, as like the breeze;
D - Be warmed by Sun, upon which we rely.

There you have it! Using this information, you’re invited to write your own Petrarchan Sonnet using either of the 2 rhyming schemes for the sestet described.

As a departure this week, rather than discussing metrics or a specific form, the subject will involve exploring some extremely important ‘Literary Devices’ which are highly useful as a part of any poetry writer’s skill-set. These are –
CONSONANCE – The repeating of the consonant sounds at the ending of words.
ALLITERATION – The repeating of the sounds at the beginning of words, closely grouped together.
And lastly,
ASSONANCE – The repeating of vowel sounds of words in a verse, in order to set a mood for the poem.
Being a proud ‘son’ of the ‘Old Dominion’ state of Virginia and a poet, an obvious idol of mine is the famous 19th century Virginian and poet Edgar Allan Poe! Poe utilized all 3 of these devices masterfully, in his exceptional poetry. This is exemplified nowhere better than his master piece ‘The Raven!’ Please notice, as you read this excerpt from the piece, how Poe uses the ‘S’ sound to achieve consonance - the ‘R’ and ‘S’ sounds at the beginning of words for alliteration - and the ‘I’ and ‘UR’ sounds used in achieving assonance!

by Edgar Allan Poe

“Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore -
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore -
Nameless here for evermore.
And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating`
'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door -
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; -
This it is, and nothing more,”

As this piece reveals, the use of these 3 literary devices in writing masterfully, should not be underestimated. So, let’s examine them, 1 at a time, more closely.

Consonance is, simply and basically put, a sound which is pleasing to the ear created by repeating consonant sounds within a line of verse. More often than not, this occurs at the ending of words, but may occur at the beginning or middle as well. Here are some examples of consonance - bitter & batter, pitter & patter, went & sent, tomorrow & sorrow etc. Now, here are examples of consonance being used in poems. These are excerpted from 2 very famous poems, by 2 very famous poets.

by Shel Silverstein

“I'll swing by my ankles.
She'll cling to your knees.
As you hang by your nose,
From a high-up trapeze.
But just one thing, please,
As we float through the breeze,
Don't sneeze.”
by Robert Frost

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The definition of alliteration simply means to have 2 or more words together in a verse that begin with the same sounds. - An example would be ‘Woeful, Wailing, Winds.’ - Alliteration is simply repeating a sound, typically consonants, in a single line of verse, which are written closely to each other. Using alliteration can give a poem an almost musical flow!
Alliteration in poetry is almost as old as poetry itself, being present in such early works as ‘Beowulf,’ over 1200 years ago! Once again, consider Poe’s “The Raven,’ and notice how alliteration is employed in these excerpts.

by Edgar Allan Poe:
“Once upon a midnight dreary while I pondered weak and weary”
The ‘W’ sound.
“And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain”
The ‘S’ sound
“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before”
The ‘D’ sound

Actually, many of us have learned alliteration as the ‘twisting’ ingredient found in favorite ‘tongue twisters!’ Consider the following examples to see for yourself.
‘Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers - how many pickled peppers did Peter Piper pick?’
‘She sells seashells by the seashore!’
‘How much wood would a woodchuck chuck - if a woodchuck could chuck wood?’
Additionally, many of us encountered alliteration early on in nursery rhymes, in children’s books, such as the Dr. Seuss books and in a myriad of commercial advertising slogans!
Assonance is probably the most difficult of the 3 literary devices to master when writing poetry. Assonance is achieved by vowel sounds being repeated in words written closely to each other in a line of verse. However, it is a powerful device for setting a ‘mood’ or ‘tone’ in a piece, as well as creating rhythms and cadence in a poem. Thus, it as an extremely helpful tool for any serious writer of poetry! Here are 2 universally accepted and very simple tips on how to use assonance to set ‘mood.’
1 – To create a ‘low-energy’ (sad or serious) mood, use words with the ‘long’ vowel sounds.
2 – Conversely, use ‘short’ vowel sounds to increase the ‘energy’ and lighten the poem’s mood.

Once again, let’s consider the work of Poe and see how assonance was employed in these excerpts from another of his masterpieces – “The Bells!”

by Edgar Allan Poe

“Hear the mellow wedding bells,
Golden bells!
What a world of happiness their harmony foretells!
Through the balmy air of night
How they ring out their delight!
From the molten-golden notes,
And an in tune,
What a liquid ditty floats
To the turtle-dove that listens, while she gloats.”

“What a world of solemn thought their monody compels!
In the silence of the night,
How we shiver with affright
At the melancholy menace of their tone!
For every sound that floats
From the rust within their throats
Is a groan.”

There you have it! Using this information, you’re invited to write your own poetry using any of the 3 literary devices described, separately or in combination.


The word ‘lyric’ comes to us from ancient Greece and the Greek word ‘lyrikos.’ It was derived as a term having to do with words being set to music of the ancient stringed instrument, the lyre. What does this have to do with poetry? The answer, is that lyrics were employed in the singing of Greek ‘lyric poetry’ and were an ancient poetic form which existed as far back as the third millennium BCE! As of a matter of fact, it was part of ancient Greek mythology attributed to ‘Euterpe,’ one of the 9 ‘Muses’ overseeing art and music. Lyrics were adopted as a distinct poetic form of English poetry, especially sonnets, in the 16th century. - Simply put, lyrics are words that make up songs. Classically this is accomplished by the combining of a stanza, called the ‘verse’ and a separate ( often smaller ) stanza, which is usually refrained in the song, called the chorus. The writer of lyrics is not only a poet, but is also called a ‘lyricist.’ A modern example of the importance of a lyricist in creating good music, by partnering with an accomplished musician, would be Elton John, who took the words of the lyricist Bernie Taupin and created some of the most popular music of modern times! The point is – you don’t have to be a musician to write great lyrics for great songs - you need only be poetic!

Actually, writing a song is quite easy, as compared to other classic forms of poetry. There’s no set meter or rhyming scheme – no fixed number of lines for either the verse or chorus and no emphasis regarding accentuation of the words employed. Indeed, songwriting can be a fun diversion for the serious poet, usually focused on metrics and format, turning lyricist and experiencing the liberties one can take in the subjects and wide open formatting available! The structure of a good song is comprised of only 3 basic parts – the verse, the chorus and the bridge. Many well-known songs, including modern ‘hit’ songs, follow the simple format of:


The verses of a song are simply the stanzas which present the story - the focus of the song. The song’s entire verse is usually comprised of 2 stanzas, separated by a chorus stanza. A good number of lines for each verse stanza would be a 6 line sestet, or an 8 line octave, but it could be more or less lines. That’s up to the lyricist. A good amount of lines for the chorus stanza is a 4 line quatrain, but, just like the verse, that’s up to the song’s writer.

This is, more likely than not, the most important component of a song, the chorus! All the verses in the verse stanzas should either build up to, or expound upon the chorus. Additionally, it is the chorus that most people commit to memory and sing along with, rather than the verses. The chorus is the ‘heart’ of a song! It is also the place where the song’s ‘hook’ or ‘tag line’ is placed. The ‘hook’ or ‘tag line’ should be the most memorable line in the song and often is, or includes, the song’s title. The best placement of the hook line is either as the first or last line of the chorus.

As a lyricist I’ve found that the hook can be a great place to actually begin the writing of a song. Personally, I prefer the hook to be the last line of a 4 line chorus and the title of the song. My method is to choose a hook line from the myriad ‘catch-phrases’ and colloquialisms we hear in everyday speech. This is particularly the case for a good ‘Country’ song. Colloquialisms are rife in Country song titles and hook lines. Consider songs that include lines like – “I Might Not Be As Good As I Once Was, But I’m As Good Once, As I Ever Was” or “Feeling Single, Seeing Double!” The list is never ending. Regardless, I recommend 1 good line that embodies the main point of the song and write it as the last line of the chorus. Then, create a line that will rhyme with the hook, which maintains the hook’s subject, or addresses the point in some way. Now, you have a rhymed couplet and have written a complete half of a 4 line chorus as well! To complete the chorus requires only 2 rhymed lines to begin the chorus, but are in keeping with the hook’s subject or point. That results in the ‘heart’ of the song being complete. All that’s left is composing 2 verse stanzas – 1 to precede the chorus, and 1 to follow, that, in turn, will precede the refraining ( repeating ) of the chorus. Now, you have a complete song, or an almost complete song that might only require a final step – the ‘bridge.’

The bridge of a song is usually a single line, or a 2 line couplet which can appear as the first or last lines of a song. Placing a bridge in a song is optional. Some songs have bridges, many do not include them. The bridge can be a restatement of the song’s topic, rhymed or unrhymed, driving the point home. It can be a ‘moral’ to the song’s ‘story, or even a ‘twist!’ You can use the bridge to come right out and say what the song is about, if the piece is full of imagery or metaphor. It’s completely up to the lyricist to choose what the bridge says or does, or whether to even include a bridge in the song at all.

Here is one of my songs for an example. This song was actually set to music, recorded as a ‘demo’ and performed onstage in Nashville by the ‘up & coming’ Country artist Jody Pyles!
This song is composed in 2 ‘verse stanzas’ of 6 lines each ( a sestet ) and 2 choruses containing 4 lines ( a quatrain) each. It has no bridge and the 2nd chorus is not a refrain of the 1st chorus, but it’s a good example of using a ‘hook line’ to title and anchor a piece.
The hook of this song is something that happens, especially in ‘rebound’ relationships, due to human nature. Folks who break up or divorce after a lengthy relationship, then enter into another relationship, can probably relate to this. Many times, if only by force of habit, we errantly call our new love interest . . . by our Ex’s name!
By: Philip Kent Church © 2012
(1st Verse)
We spent so much time together, still it all went bad,
Sometimes we must lose, to see the good we had,
When loving is hard, it can be a rough ride,
We harden our hearts, to protect our foolish pride,
Though hearts may break, with every tear in our eyes,
All the dreams will disappear, and our love just dies,
(1st Chorus)
When I call out your name, you don’t answer anymore,
I reach out to hold you, but you walked out that door,
Though my lips may stumble, it’s my heart to blame,
When I look into her eyes, and call her by your name.
(2nd Verse)
After being so lonely, and so much time had passed,
In the arms of another, and over you at last,
Fooling myself that love, once again, I’d found,
But the cruelest bounce in life, can be the rebound,
now, it’s not fair to her, cause her love is true,
And it would break her heart, to know I still loved you,
(2nd Chorus)
But I’m still thinking of you, with every country song,
And I’m praying each night, that I could just move on,
But though I live with regret, and endless shame,
I look into her eyes, and call her by your name.

There you have it! Using this lesson, you’re invited to write your own original song lyrics using the information described.


The rondeau, like the villanelle, began as a type of song centuries ago. Originating in medieval France, the rondeau (French for ‘round’) was used to address subjects such as spirituality, romance and seasonal changes. Just as the villanelle, the rondeau makes use of refrains, but instead of a single repeating word in refrain – the rondeau repeats (refrains) an entire line of verse throughout the poem. This repeating line is called the ‘rentrement’. The rentrement begins as the rondeau’s first line of verse. After this, it becomes the last line of the remaining stanzas. It is this ‘echoing’ rentrement which causes the rondeau to ‘circle back’ when recited – hence its name’s meaning as ‘round!’ The rentrement also makes the rondeau a great utility for changing the meaning of the piece, or ‘driving home’ a topic. For instance, many rondeaus begin in sadness or melancholy, but end in triumph!

The rondeau is a 15 line poem (remember each line of poetry should be kept around 10 syllables ) composed in 3 stanzas. The first stanza has 5 lines of verse and is called a ‘quintet.’ The second stanza has 4 lines and is called a ‘quatrain.’ The final stanza is comprised of 6 lines and, accordingly, is called a sestet. Just like a villanelle, the rondeau only employs 2 rhymes (‘a’ & ‘b’) throughout the piece, including the rentrement.
Using ‘R” to denote the rentrement, the form is: aabba aabR aabbaR

1st Quintet – a,a,b,b,a
2nd Quatrain – a,a,b,R
3rd Sestet – a,a,b,b,a,R
Here is a rondeau written by Carlos Gomez and myself, for consideration.
“Witch hunt (innocent blood) “
By: Carlos Gomez & Philip Church

A - Pointing fingers at those they hate
A - With fallacies - enforced their weight
B - With plunder and idolatry
B - They know not Jesus’ piety
A - Condemning an innocent mate.

A - So called witches - tallied rate
A - Souls condemned from bridges of hate
B - By Puritan pride - ungodly
R -They point their fingers at those they hate

A - Innocents suff ’ring wrongful fate
A - Saints buried beyond sacred gate
B - Hysterical – accusingly
B – The allegations made falsely
A – And the truth revealed – much too late
R -They point their fingers at those they hate

Lastly, a writing tip for composing a rondeau is to create an opening line, the all-important rentrement, to be the focus of the piece.

There you have it! Using this information, you’re invited to write your own rondeau using the form, example and tips described.



NOVEMBER 1, 2017


What is Poetry
MUST RDIT ***Poetry (the term derives from a variant of the Greek term, poiesis, "making") is a form of literature that uses aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language—such as phonaesthetics, sound symbolism, and metre—to evoke meanings in addition to, or in place of, the prosaic ostensible meaning.
Poetry (ancient Greek: ποιεω (poieo) = I create) is an art form in which human language is used for its aesthetic qualities in addition to, or instead of, its notional and semantic content. ... Poems frequently rely for their effect on imagery, word association, and the musical qualities of the language used. . We may feel we know what a thing is, but have trouble defining it. That holds as true for poetry as it does for, say, love or electricity. Poems frequently rely for their effect on imagery, word association, and the musical qualities of the language used. --- the definition of poetry and how great poets throughout history have painted vivid word pictures. --the art of rhythmical composition, written or spoken, for exciting pleasure by beautiful, imaginative, or elevated thoughts ***

I consider myself to be an Appalachian/Inspirational writer. My first love is poetry and writing lyrics, but I also possess a love for writing history (Appalachian history, especially). I was born, raised, and currently reside in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia! Within my heritage is included my famous/infamous great, great grandfather, "Devil" John Wright, his uncle Martin Van Buren Bates, the "Kentucky Giant" ( he was 7' 11" tall & 450+ Lbs. ) – and other ancestors which the author John Fox Jr. used to populate his famous novel, "The Trail of the Lonesome Pine!"

Hello fellow writers! Welcome to ‘WAXING POETIC!’ --- lessons in the skills, exploring the forms and metrics of classic poetics. These lessons are offered to help improve your skills in the craft of writing poetry. You are urged to take the information and write your own piece(s) using the given forms and metrics --- your individual expressions in a classic form.
Lastly, remember the words of Pablo Picasso. “It is important to learn the rules as a pro, so you can break them as an artist!”
- Philip Kent Church

I consider myself to be an Appalachian/Inspirational writer. My first love is poetry and writing lyrics, but I also possess a love for writing history (Appalachian history, especially). I was born, raised, and currently reside in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia! Within my heritage is included my famous/infamous great, great grandfather, "Devil" John Wright, his uncle Martin Van Buren Bates, the "Kentucky Giant" ( he was 7' 11" tall & 450+ Lbs. ) – and other ancestors which the author John Fox Jr. used to populate his famous novel, "The Trail of the Lonesome Pine!"

Hello fellow writers! Welcome to ‘WAXING POETIC!’ --- lessons in the skills, exploring the forms and metrics of classic poetics. These lessons are offered to help improve your skills in the craft of writing poetry. You are urged to take the information and write your own piece(s) using the given forms and metrics --- your individual expressions in a classic form.
Lastly, remember the words of Pablo Picasso. “It is important to learn the rules as a pro, so you can break them as an artist!”
- Philip Kent Church

Defining poetry.
What is poetry?
What defines? Poetry.
This is a knot. A simple. Question to ask.
The Oxford Dictionary. Says that poetry. Is? Literary work in which special intensity is given to the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive Style.

Emily Dickinson.
Said. Quotation marks. If I read a book. And it makes my whole body so cold no fire ever can warm the me I know that is poetry.. I feel. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only way I know it..Is there any other way?? Quotation mark.
Robert Frost the famous American poet. Says. Quotation mark. Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words. Quotation mark.
Edgar Allan Poe. Sad poetry. Said of poetry quotation mark I would be fine, earth, the Poetry of words as the rhythmical creation of beauty. Soul Arbiter is taste. With the intellect or with the conscience, has only collateral relations. Unless incidentally, it has no concern whatever either with Duty or with truth. Nation mark.
A poet. In the 16th century said that the utility of poetry. Is to teach? Or Delight.
Indeed poetry may be defined as all of these and yet I would add that there is much much more. Poetry. I believe. Aside from teaching or delighting can also inspire. It can comfort.
And. I believe. It has. Healing abilities. Possible. Pruitt's practice.
Poetry. Actually predates literacy it predates writing.
It is believed. To have been used as a way of remembering histories or genealogies even to transmit. Religious beliefs of ancient. Illiterate. People. In the far distant past poetry. Also. Has been used as a form of music. Since time immemorial, and indeed. The earliest written poetry. Comes in the form of religious works. Musical hymns as well as recounting history or even instructions for everyday living. And of course love songs.
The oldest written poetry. That has been discovered so far is an ancient Sumerian. Legend. Regarding. Interesting enough. A great flood. It is car. Play Mud tablet. That comes to us. From well over 2,000. And is titled the Epic of Gilgamesh or better known as the great Deluge tablet.
Mini works. Of ancient history that we still have to this day. We're given to us. Originally in the form of epic poetry such as the works of Homer. Of the Odyssey.
And the Iliad Right up to one of the oldest writings of the ancient English language. Known as the Epic of Beowulf, The Iliad and odyssey. Many ancient Sanskrit epics including the Mahabharata. Are also examples of poetry and indeed the Mahabharata? Is one of the longest if not the longest epic poem ever written Lastly. The best-selling book. Of all time.The Bible. Has within its oldest books. Examples of ancient Hebrew. Poetry. It can be said, perhaps, that --- God is a poet!
And so from our Earliest. Written history. As a species. And going far beyond. Prior. To our species even. Practicing writing. Poetry in one form or another. Has been a part of The Human Experience. Indeed. One could even say poetry. Has played a critical role. And what it is to be. A human being.
There could probably be no truer statement than. The definitions of poetry are virtually uncountable.
That being as it may --- I submit. That whatever those other definitions of poetry are the individual can discover their own meaning --- their own definition of poetry, and the remarkable impact it can have on one's life.
This would certainly be my story. Indeed I did not write my first real poem. Until I was 52 years old. Immediately a whole new dimension of thinking, indeed of defining my own existence opened up to me. Like a dam burst --- poetry flowed and flowed to the point that, within a few months, I was writing several poems a day.
However I had one thing that was a blessing which few people could have experienced, and that was an accomplished poet, moreover a teacher of English at the college level, for my own personal tutor and mentor, named T. Byron Kelly.
I spent many hours with this mentor, who has become a dear friend, at the pre-colonial Solitude house at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia --- discussing and learning about poetry in the grand room of a beautiful, centuries old manor house surrounded by ancient oak and maple trees, all set next to the famous Vrginia Tech Duck Pond. Here we studied poetry, watching out the window as the seasons changed and the ducks, geese and the squirrels meandered and played about in the manicured yard outside.
T. Byron Kelly once defined poetry to me simply as. “exalted language,” and that has stuck with me.But for me this “exalted language” had a whole other utility in my life --- that it became cathartic for me, almost therapeutic. Indeed poetry helped to heal a lot of my inner turmoil and pain and has led me in the years since to a very real and noticeable affirmative change in my personality and my character. I am simply a much better person thanks to poetry. It has become an indispensable, indefinable and exquisite part of my life. And so I have written this book as a teaching text, a “poetry Primer” with the aim of introducing and instructing others regarding this wonderful, wonderful craft of poetry.

While there are many, many different types of poetry, generally speaking it can be said that there are three basic types --- which are. Lyric poetry. Dramatic poetry and Narrative poetry.
The average person is probably. Most familiar. With lyric poetry. Indeed we know that Columbus discovered America. In 1492 after selling the ocean blue --- additionally, while many of adult Americans would probably be a little embarrassed to admit it, how many of us must still quietly recite the ‘ABC Song’ when trying to remember our alphabet. I would add that probably many, if not all, songs could be looked upon as types of lyric poetry. Hence the words of a song are always defined as its lyrics.
However there are Lyric poems written by some of the most famous writers of all time such as Shakespeare, who wrote? And published 154. Poems called sonnets, from where we get such a memorable lines as
“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”
And so we see that lyric poetry. Can certainly be Musical, and seems to have more to do with emotions or attitudes, as it can be very emotional; and certainly can reveal certain mental attitudes and/or states of mind.
The second type of poetry is Dramatic Poetry
All dramatic poetry is written to be recited --- to be orally spoken. I personally believe that all poetry is best when it is spoken aloud, and one of my personal tips for writing poetry is to recite your poem aloud as it's being written --- to see how it. ‘meets (pleases or displeases) the ear.’
We may also include William Shakespeare as a writer of dramatic poetry, as well as many of his contemporaries. Indeed some of the greatest writers of English. Language were writers of dramatic poetry.

And then there comes Narrative Poetry.
Narrative poems basically tell a story. The ancient epic poems are all narrative poems. Edgar Allan Poe wrote excellent narrative poetry including his most famous poem The Raven. Consider this example taken from Edgar Allan Poe's “The Raven”
“And his eyes has all the seeming of a demon that is dreaming. And the lamp light. O’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor; and my soul from out that shadow.. And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor shall be lifted - nevermore.”
I should also add a fourth type. Simply because that this seems to be very popular especially with the Advent of social media. And is probably the most basic type of poetry. That amateurs. Or even the average person. Employs and this is known as free verse and basically free verse means there are no rules. Free verse 10 rhyme and have rhythm or it can have no rhythm or rhyme.
And even though we sort of think of free verse as being a fatter a fairly modern.
Part of poetry. Free verse types of poetry have been around for centuries. And I would go back to T. Byron Kelly's. Very simple definition of “exalted language” --- indeed. I think that any writing. That is used as a form of artistic expression using ‘exalted language’ --- can be thought of as a free verse poem.


The house I live in, is constructed of words,
In old bricks of sentences, nouns & adverbs,
It´s roofed in sonnets, & it´s eaves are of odes,
The place I reside, where my soul now abodes.
My windows, look out upon stories in tomes,
Curtained & garbed, behind billowing poems,
In hearth of my warming, the embers of tales,
My house is my home, when all else just fails.
My house is the place where I do all my dwelling,
Each tile on the floor, duly paved by my spelling,
It is not very grand, & perhaps, not even select,
It is quirky, it´s bijou, & really, it´s not too erect.
The walls of my house, in loose letters are daubed,
Keeping me safe, warm & ever totally absorbed,
Upon front door of my house, & italically curled,
You´ll find the words, “Welcome to my world”.

(lesson 4)
Writing a poem is like building a house. Just as a house is structured with rooms, poems can be structured with stanzas. As of a matter of fact, the word ‘stanza’ actually means 'room' in Italian! A stanza is simply a specific grouping of lines of verse. In this regard, stanzas are used in composing poetry ( and songs ) in much the same way paragraphs are used in composing stories. Of course, unlike paragraphs, stanzas will normally have a set number of lines, metering of syllables per line and employ a rhyming scheme.


THE COUPLET - A couplet is a stanza of 2 lines that usually rhyme. ( a,a )

THE TERCET ( OR TRIPLET ) – A 3 line stanza, that also ( usually ) is rhymed. ( b,b,b, )

THE QUATRAIN – A stanza of 4 lines that traditionally employs a ‘rhyming scheme.’ ( a,a,b,b )or( a,b,a,b )

THE QUINTAIN (OR QUINTET ) - Any ‘complete’ poem or stanza composed in 5 lines. Quintains can follow any meter and rhyming scheme. It is the specific metering and rhyming that determines the ‘type’ of Quintain, as there are many. For instance, the Limericks we learned as children are actually a specifically metered and rhymed type of Quintain! Another form of the Quintain is called a ‘CINQUAIN.’ Which utilizes a unique metering of syllables per line. The first and last lines of the Cinquain have only 2 syllables each. The second line has 4, the third has 6 and the fourth has 8 – so its syllabic meter would be 2-4-6-8-2. Then, there’s the ENGLISH QUINTAIN, which has no metering of syllables, but employs a unique rhyming scheme in its 5 lines of ‘a,b,a,b,b’ and is useful for longer poems.

THE SESTET - The Sestet is a stanza which has 6 lines. Sestet originates from an Italian word, sestetto, meaning sixth. The famous Italian poet, Petrarch was the first one to have introduced this poetic form in Italian sonnet. This is the second part of the sonnet, while the first part is called octave that comprises of eight lines. It has six lines, and also refers to a poem of six lines, or a six lined-stanza in a poem that we could distinguish from other units with line breaks. Hence, a sestet could also be a complete poem of six lines, or could be a stanza in a poem. Sestets are used in many poetic forms with rhyme and meter, but they play a huge role in a somewhat peculiar poetic form called the SESTINA. The Sestina has the reputation of being one of, if not ‘the most complex’ of the classic poetic forms. Speaking strictly for myself, the Sestina is monstrous! I’ve accomplished only a single Sestina in my career – and that’s more than enough for me! The Sestina is a 39 line poem executed in 6 Sestets and one Tercet. Not relying on any rhyming scheme and meter in its construction, a sestina uses the last word of each verse in the opening Sestet as refrains, in a precisely arranged order throughout the next 5 Sestets and final Tercet. In the final Tercet, however, the 6 words must appear twice per line, in a prescribed order, in those last 3 lines! As stated, the Sestina is ‘MONSTROUS!’

First SESTET, ..1 ..2 ..3 ..4 ..5 ..6
Second SESTET, ..6 ..1 ..5 .. 2 ..4 ..3
Third SESTET, ..3 ..6 ..4 ..1 ..2 ..5
Fourth SESTET , ..5 ..3 ..2 ..6 ..1 ..4
Fifth SESTET, ..4 ..5 ..1 ..3 ..6 ..2
Sixth SESTET, ..2 ..4 ..6 ..5 ..3 ..1
middle of first line ..2, end of first line …5
middle of second line ..4, end of second line …3
middle if third line ..6, end of third line...1

Beyond the Sestet there is the ‘RHYME ROYAL’ - a 7 line stanza in iambic pentameter with a rhyming scheme of a,b,a,b,b,c,c. The Rhyme Royal can be found in the works of Geoffrey Chaucer. Then there is The ‘OTTAVA RIMA’ - which is a stanza of 8 lines rhymed a,b,a,b,a,b,c,c. Poems with stanzas will always have some type of structure to them, but not all poetry uses stanzas. An example would be ‘Free Verse’ poetry, which has no set, formal structuring. This brings us to a 9 line stanza and the obvious choice would be the “SPENSERIAN STANZA!

Edmund Spenser ( 1552 – 1599 ) is one of the originators of English poetry and considered one of the greatest of the English poets in history. Spenser was probably best known for his epic poem “The Faerie Queene,” which is easily identified as an allegory of Queen Elizabeth I. The Spenserian Stanza is a form invented by Edmund Spenser specifically for “The Faerie Queene.” Each stanza contains 9 lines - 8 lines of iambic pentameter and ends with a single line written in iambic hexameter. This type of iambic hexameter line ( a line of poetic meter comprising 12 syllables ) is called an ‘Alexandrine.’ Alexandrines are common in early French poetry. Plays in English often used Alexandrines, but during the times of Marlowe and Shakespeare, it was replaced by iambic pentameter ( a line of poetic meter comprising 10 syllables ).

As stated, the stanza's predominant meter is iambic pentameter with a final line in iambic hexameter. The rhyming scheme for the 9 lines is a,b,a,b,b,c,b,c,c. HERE IS ONE OF MY SPENSERIAN STANZAS AS AN EXAMPLE.

1 - Appalachian living’s as pure as air, - A
2 - Exhaled by deep mountain forests so green. - B
3 - A life to live without disdain or care, - A
4 - Upon the world outside, so hard, so mean. - B
5 - Up here pertains to Lord and life, so clean, - B
6 - As creeks from down mountains, to stream displayed;C
7 - Among the deep hollers to flow unseen, - B
8 - By all who live by sight of life dismayed. - C
9 - Or lose the track of care, of that in life, mislaid. – C - (iambic hexameter – Alexandrine)
There you have it! Using this information, you’re invited to write your own Spenserian Stanza, or other stanza types (even the dreaded Sestina, if you dare!) using any of the different forms described.

Papaw Phil

An Outlaw Poem


The saga from the Barents was born - South of the Arctic Sea,
Spawned by war cold and forlorn, M.A.D. as madness can be.
Some perished answering duty’s call, bereft of fortune and fame.
Kursk’s valiant crew forewent all, yet few remember their name.

Five-hundred feet long, with sixty at the beam,
Eighteen-thousand tons, of displacement deemed.
Manned by one-hundred eighteen billeted team,
This pride of the Red Fleet, like a trophy gleamed.

Then the Grim Reaper in his stygian way, cocked his head,
Whilst the timekeeper set The Doomsday Clock, and said,
“Mourn aloud you weepers, for time is hanging by a thread.”
All but a score and three, in the ninth compartment be dead.

A young Captain-lieutenant logged the names, as proof of life,
Then, in that cold, dark ninth compartment, he wrote his wife,
Nobly inscribing words of consolation, for the grief she’d bear,
All twenty-three men faced their fate, wanting none to despair.

Beckoning to life’s terrible math,
For every moment is wasted, that with love isn’t fraught.
Reckoning due strife’s crucible of wrath.
Every work is mere rubbish, which in love is not wrought.

If smitten, when feeble shadow, belie the façade,
And for undiscovered shore, our heart’s meant,
Tis written: “Be still, and know that He is God.”
We all are entombed, in the ninth compartment.

Survivors in aft compartment[edit]
There were 24 men assigned to compartments six through nine towards the rear of the ship.[78] Of that number, 23 survived the two blasts and gathered in the ninth compartment, which had an escape hatch.[6] Captain-lieutenant Dmitri Kolesnikov, head of the turbine in the seventh department, and one of three surviving officers of that rank, apparently took charge.[79]
Kolesnikov wrote two notes,[29][80] parts of which were released by Vice Admiral Motsak to the media for the first time on 27 October 2000.[21] The first, written at 13:15, 1 hour and 45 minutes after the second explosion, contained a private note to his family and, on the reverse, information on their situation and the names of those in the ninth compartment. The handwriting appears normal, indicating the sailors still had some light.[78]
It's 13:15. All personnel from section six, seven, and eight have moved to section nine, there are 23 people here. We feel bad, weakened by carbon dioxide ... Pressure is increasing in the compartment. If we head for the surface we won't survive the compression. We won't last more than a day. ... All personnel from sections six, seven, and eight have moved to section nine. We have made the decision because none of us can escape.[23][29][81]
Kolesnikov wrote the second note at 15:15. His writing was extremely difficult to read.
It's dark here to write, but I'll try by feel. It seems like there are no chances, 10–20%. Let's hope that at least someone will read this. Here's the list of personnel from the other sections, who are now in the ninth and will attempt to get out. Regards to everybody, no need to despair. Kolesnikov.[82]
The newspaper Izvestia reported on 26 February 2001 that another note, written by Lt. Cmdr. Rashid Aryapov, had been recovered during the initial rescue operation.[43]:22 Aryapov held a senior position in the sixth compartment. The note was written on the page of a detective novel and wrapped in plastic. It was found in a pocket of his clothing after his body was recovered.[83]
Izvestia quoted unidentified naval officers who claimed that Aryapov wrote that the explosion was caused by "faults in the torpedo compartment, namely, the explosion of a torpedo on which the Kursk had to carry out tests". Izvestia also stated that Aryapov wrote that as a result of the explosions the submarine was tossed violently about, and many crew members were injured by equipment that tore loose as a result.[80][83] To the Russian public, it appeared that the Russian Navy was covering up its inability to rescue the trapped sailors.[43]
Escape hatch unused[edit]
Analysis of the wreck could not determine whether the escape hatch was workable from the inside. Analysts theorise that the men may have rejected risking the escape hatch even if it were operable, and would have preferred to wait for a submarine rescue ship to attach itself to the hatch. The sub was relatively close to shore and in the middle of a large naval exercise. The sailors had every reason to believe that rescue would arrive quickly.[17]:90–92 Using the escape trunk was risky. The sailors were in a compartment that was initially at surface atmosphere pressure, so they did not risk decompression sickness ('the bends') if they used the rescue hoods to ascend to the surface. But the Arctic water was extremely cold and they could not survive long in the water. Also, water was slowly seeping into the ninth compartment, increasing the atmospheric pressure and thus the risk of decompression sickness and death when they ascended to the surface. In addition it was likely that some of the men were seriously injured and escape would have been very difficult for them.[17]:88–92
When the nuclear reactors automatically shut down, the air purification system would have shut down, emergency power would be limited, and the crew would soon have been in complete darkness and experienced falling temperatures.[17]:88–92
Death of survivors[edit]
The official investigation into the disaster discovered that a large number of potassium superoxide chemical cartridges, used to absorb carbon dioxide and chemically release oxygen to enable survival, were found in the ninth compartment. But the level of carbon monoxide in the compartment exceeded what people can produce in a closed space.[6] Divers found ash and dust inside the compartment when they first opened that hatch, evidence of a fire. But this fire was separate from that caused by the exploding torpedo. This and other evidence found in the salvaged wreck suggested that the crew were killed when they accidentally dropped one of the chemical superoxide cartridges into the seawater slowly filling the compartment.[1]:143–145 When the cartridge came in contact with the oily sea water, it triggered a chemical reaction and flash fire.[29] The investigation showed that some men temporarily survived this fire by plunging under water, as fire marks on the bulkheads indicated the water was at waist level at the time. Captain-Lieutenant Kolesnikov's body was badly burned from below the waist up, and his head and neck were severely disfigured by severe burns.[1]:143 The fire consumed all remaining oxygen, so that the remaining survivors all died,[63] of burns, asphyxiation, or carbon monoxide poisoning.[29]
There was considerable debate over how long the sailors survived. Russian military officers initially gave conflicting accounts, that survivors could have lived up to a week within the sub, but those that died would have been killed very quickly. The Dutch recovery team reported that they thought the men in the least affected ninth compartment might have survived for two to three hours.[2] Kolesnikov wrote his last note at 15:15, indicating that he lived almost four hours after the explosion.[84] Other notes recovered later show that some sailors in the ninth compartment were alive at least 6 hours and 17 minutes after the ship sank.[29] Vice Admiral Vladislav Ilyin, first deputy chief of the Russian Navy's staff and head of the Kursk Naval Incident Cell, concluded that the men in the ninth compartment survived up to three days.

Class and type:Oscar II-class submarine
Displacement:13,400 to 16,400 tonnes (13,200 to 16,100 long tons; 14,800 to 18,100 short tons)[clarification needed]
Length:154.0 m (505.2 ft)
Beam:18.2 m (60 ft)
Draft:9.0 m (29.5 ft)
Propulsion:2 OK-650b nuclear reactors , 2 steam turbines, two 7-bladed propellers
Speed:32 knots (59 km/h; 37 mph) submerged, 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph) surfaced
Test depth:300 to 500 metres (980 to 1,640 ft) (by various estimates)
Complement:44 officers, 68 enlisted

Three New Ones from 2/13/13
Papaw Phil
Moonless Mountain Night
By: Philip Kent Church

The quiet cold, of a mountain winter’s night;

Stars brilliant, untouched by the Moon’s light.

Orion hunts by treading on mountain’s slopes.

Just behind him the Dog Star, Sirius, mopes.

They travel the ecliptic to west from east,

In a nightly parade that’s never ceased.

Turn around from Orion, and you’ll see there,

The gleaming of the Seven Sisters, and the Bear.

From that Big Dipper, to journey near or far,

It’s outmost corner points to the North Star.

The softening darkness of the blanketing night,

Sprinkled with celestial glinting, glistening bright,

Calling to a place possessed deeply within,

Where the essence of ourselves might begin.

When gazing into the infinite, the Lord to trust,

For it causes the mindfulness, we are but dust.

When considering the stars, taken all in all,

It is realized that our life, truly, is small.

Remember, every note’s needed to complete the song.

Just as stars have their place, we’re ordained to belong.

Mountain Sunset
An Arabian sonnet

By: Philip Kent Church

Remembering mountain sunsets in younger days,

Recalling how sky, set upon ridges, waxed ablaze.

Into brilliant, burning hues, with awestruck gaze,

Revealing a wondrous moment, that would Amaze.

With the day’s death comes a longing hard to bear,

As into the celestial turning, then beyond, cast stare;

Wondering about who resided across ridges there.

What lives were lived, and for what did they care?

Imagining a life outside the hills for only a minute,

Like a gleaming city to be a part of, just living in it.

Then comes the troubling notion of how to begin it.

Within the mountain soul the notion brings on fears,

Just as night’s shadow darkens the sunset as it nears.

Contented again, the longing, with the Sun, Disappears.

Black Diamonds

By: Philip Kent Church

Once, long ago, I had dreams of fortune and fame,

I was going to conquer the world, teach it my name.

Yes, I was haughty and arrogant, to be a winner,

But I only caused pain; the worst kind of sinner.

Rebellious, disregarding good advice and instruction,

The years rolled by me, leaving a wake of destruction.

Finally, through unmerited grace, God saved my soul,

But, in my heart, my words seemed to be black as coal.

Longing, somehow to help, in spite of the way I’d chosen to live,

I offered the words, like coal, in my heart; it’s all I’d left to give.

When I looked within, everything had changed, there to find,

That the coal, pressed by God, now, as like diamonds shined!

Humbled, that a heart like mine could find a treasure within it,

Longing, now, only to help others, wondering how to begin it;

The Lord had given me no fame or fortune, but allowed this part,

Giving me words strong as diamonds, to reach into any hard heart.

So I will spend my days offering my words to help others with livin’.

It’s much more than I deserve, these black diamonds I’ve been given.

Another Selection
Papaw Phil

By: Philip Kent Church

By night I watch the stars run,

Across mountain’s ridge. East to west.

I know each one’s akin to the Sun,

Traveling until daybreak brings arrest.

Upon this, my world, those worlds viewed,

I consider the whole, struck dumb with wonder;

As the ecliptic reveals constellation queued.

Thought’s of self-importance, rendered asunder,

I think of those worlds, cut-off from my experience,

Imagining who, or what therein may abide.

My mind reels, as earth-bound self, searches the sense,

The notion becomes beyond me, I must confide.


Here I am, all that I am . . . such as I am.

I live in a box, of width, breadth and height,

Following fate’s c lues, with all of my might;

Searching endlessly for posterity’s directions,

Working tirelessly, to make the connections.

Looking in between lines, a meaningful gleaning,

As my heart pines to discover, any real meaning.

Is the sum that’s greater than it’s parts really love?

Within all that exists, is someone there up above?

Life’s many components, and terrible persistence,

Interfere with notions of plains of higher existence.

Beyond empirical reality, it seems there remains a part;

Is it an accident of consciousness, is it love, God or art?

After all, are such thoughts necessary or essential;

Is it folly to waste time on things so existential?

Perhaps our reach exceeds our height attempting such endeavors;

Like a machine trying to operate itself, by pulling the right levers.

Esoteric pursuits can devour souls like ravenous cancers.

Art can drive madness in minds questing for the answers;

But when bereft of love, what we long for can be curses.

That’s when we inscribe life’s poetry, in tortured verses!

Seeds Of Madness

By: Philip Kent Church

T’was madness, by and by, and for the most;

An affinity of the mind, there’s no need to boast.

A perspective of accepted nuance to halt,

If, then, one is mad, it’s really nobody’s fault.

Whether wrought of sanctification, or profanity,

Herein is presented some tortured verses of insanity.

Go on, be adverse, be cruel, or bullied unkind.

Regardless, here lies the pathos of maddened mind.

Whether pity, or mercy is not allowed to do it,

Bring what you will, oh, do your worst to it!

From your smug judgements serenity derives;

If one assails madness, madness always survives.

Bring your assertions, in their due inflections,

Madness remains a collection of reality’s reflections.

Bring all of empirical thought, all of the calculous you think;

Madness rules the consequences of all, brings you to the brink!

Just when reasonable concoction renders all asunder,

One trembles within the consequence, that one’s actually under.

Reality is accepted verbatim, becoming relaxed within all impression,

But madness lurks just around the corner, violently vexed it’s in expression.

You thought you were safe, nestled within your estimations.

Then the madness erupts, and lays low all of the expectations.

Life may, indeed, be lived sought with lukewarm tepidity.

Until madness reveals the useless unction of stupidity.

One reels with surprise, their mouths held agape,

When madness descends, and there is no escape!

Soul Diving

By: Philip Kent Church

From the precipice of present circumstance, release yourself.

Throw self-definition into the etherial, eternal and unknown.

Plunge mind into the spirit, fall into the steep spectral rapture.

Exhilarate from the release, into the placid, unknown recesses.

Intend the destination to that of the human heart, at the conclusion.

Fall with most sweetest abandon of care, or fear, or calculous.

Now, all hastening past you, rushing within, falling, falling, allow;

Think not of accolade, resist the exterior, descend into yourself.

Fall into the eternal embrace of all that is really . . . real, for you.

Find the truth that is your’s alone, aim for the bottom of your soul.

There one touches art. There one finds poetry; one’s essence.

Release, abandon, let go of all empirical, experience the free-fall.

Submerge, to merge with the what, and who you really, really are!

From the falling, discover your calling, birth your life’s meaning;

Stop any stalling, nothing appalling, accept the newfound gleaning!

selected poems
Papaw Phil
Blue Ridge January Morn
Free Verse # 2

By: Philip Kent Church

Wintry morning in mountain woods,

The icy white tangles suspended in mist;

With crisp, crystalline branches drooping,

Over little snowy-ridged chevrons below.

Glaring, gray light diffused throughout,

A shadow-less white opaqued withal,

Glinting tiny rainbows sparkling on,

Twisting, snow-crowned stems fading,

Into the bright-foggy, blank nothing.

Muffled, cold-silence blanketed wood,

All nestled in a softly-stilled forest dawn.

There, frozen-quiet spirits rest beneath,

Game-trails ill-defined by snowy drifts.

Meandering into pale, oblivious shallows,

Where the quiet earth breathes to the sky.

A Tear In The Sea
An English Quintain

By: Philip Kent Church

When I think of all that’s real, my life seems so small.

Like dust trapped in Sun beams, the years float, then flee.

So where am I in the deal, where’s destiny’s call?

When I think of my dreams; all that may, or never be.

All my life really seems, just like a tear in the sea.

Of Vain Poetry
An Ottava Rima

By: Philip Kent Church

Poems bear heart’s love, joy or pain,

Artful constructs of mind;

The syntax of thoughtful gleaning.

The impact not in kind.

Is poetry inscribed in vain,

Obscuring wisdom shined?
In vanity there’s no meaning,

The blind leading the blind.

Express soul in a way that’s sane;

Revelations to find.

As something lost, found while cleaning,

Offer nuggets for gain.

Planted seed within others lain,

To grow, mind-milled to grind,

And bend to some human leaning:

Not empty words, which feign.

Papaw Phil
Walton Christmas

By: Philip Kent Church

Once again, Christmas is here,

Such a very special time of the year,

With chilly, brilliant starry and silent nights,

Neighborhoods all aglow, with Christmas lights,

Hearths being warmed by the Yule log,

Candy and cookies with custard and nog,

Little faces with big eyes, filled with wonder,

Believing in love, with the Spirit they’re under,

Remember, just like them, wishing for that one special toy,

Learning about the Magi’s gift, and the little drummer boy,

Or wiping away the tears, from how much it meant,

Seeing the change in ol’ Scrooge, as he chose to repent,

How sweetly Linus recited, what he had to say,

Teaching Charlie Brown the true meaning of the day,

Being reminded of simpler times, filled with so much fun,

Knowing the real gift was love, when Ralphie got his B-B gun,

Seeing our hometown transformed with decorations displayed,

While standing on the corner, watching the Christmas parade,

Warm homes filled with wonderful aromas, like gifts from above,

Evergreen sweetness, mixed with goodies prepared by hands of love,

Hearing those beloved voices whilst repeating their chide,

When presents were shaken, trying to discover what’s inside,

Keeping a close eye on the weather if the temperature’s low,

Cause it’s the one day each year, nearly everyone wants snow,

Families gathering early, still sleepy in their night-clothes worn,

Watching rumpussed children tear away gift-wrap in early morn,

When grown-ups gather the young, forgetting all the world’s danger,

And teach them about angels, wise-men, shepherds, and the manger,

Because, in the end, there can be no doubt,

That’s what the whole season’s really about,

Our Father, for all of us, in order to save,

Loves us so well, with the gift that He gave,

That in a battle for our lives, the victory was won,

By the child we celebrate, God’s only begotten son,

Because of that wonderful gift, our eternal lives are held tight,

And, by His Spirit, He’s right here with us, right now, tonight,

Because of the first, best Christmas gift, our lives can be as new,

The gift endures, still offered to the world, including me and you,

So, no matter the season, whether Summer, Spring or Fall,

The birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, is the best gift of all!

Song for Emilie Parker Newtown, Ct.
Papaw Phil
Twice as Bright
( Emilie’s Song )

By: Philip Kent Church
Blacksburg, Va.

The best example of God’s love that could ever be,

Can be found in the beautiful life of sweet Emilie,

Emilie, the blonde, blue-eyed angel sent from above,

Showed us, in her little life, the wonder of God’s love,

When Emilie thought that someone was having it hard,

She would, with precious little hands, make them a card,

Seems not everyone’s dealt a winning hand,

Why some die young’s hard to understand,

Remember, if living in a dark world seems our plight,

Flames that burn half as long, shine twice as bright,

Emilie acted with love, when she saw a need,

By her artwork, faith, or teaching sister to read,

Such a beautiful child, full of life and eager to please,

Even telling her Dad, “I love you.” in Portugese,

By God’s grace, her Dad, stricken in his darkest hour,

Showed compassion, honoring Emilie, by love’s power,

Seems not everyone’s dealt a winning hand,

Why some die young’s hard to understand,

Remember, if living in a dark world seems our plight,

Flames that burn half as long, shine twice as bright,

Sadly, ahead , there will come many hard days,

But Emilie’s legacy lives now, and for always,

We felt the pain in our hearts, it hurt so much,

By God’s Spirit, oh, the lives Emilie will touch,

That when life’s road seems hard, instead of stumbling,

Emilie’s memory stays, eternally strong, and humbling,

Seems not everyone’s dealt a winning hand,

Why some die young’s hard to understand,

Remember, if living in a dark world seems our plight,

Flames that burn half as long, shine twice as bright,

From now on, no matter the hardship, or strife,

We all gain strength, from knowing of Emilie’s life,

Earthly loss of this child, is now high heaven’s gain,

Her love-legacy can change the world . . . She didn’t live in vain

Remember, if living in a dark world seems our plight,

Emilie’s little, loving flame, will forever shine bright!

Anti Poem
Papaw Phil
Anti Poem

By: Philip Kent Church

I don’t feel like writing poems today,

I have nothing profound, nor deep to say.

There’s nothing inspiring, nor wise to tell,

In a stanza, sonnet, or villanelle.

Weary of trying to fit, hand in glove,

Some words of wisdom, whimsy, pain, or love.

To waste the hours of the day and the night,

I don’t want to have to take time to write.

There’s no lofty ideals to be inscribed,

No metered images to be described,

To give substance to parts of a dream.

No word usage for clever rhyming scheme,

With blank, or free verse infatuation;

No concern for proper punctuation.

There’s simply no care for iambs to mount,

No interest, in the syllable count.

Sometimes it seems to be so demented,

Figuring out how words are accented.

There’s no wish to find the parameter,

To write verse in perfect pentameter.

To write a poem today is too hard,

I’ll simply have to delay, I’m no Bard.

I’m not going to shed one single tear,

After all, everyone can’t be Shakespeare.

Though I’ve studied poetry until I knew it,

I refuse to write, not going to do it.

I loathe the idea of taking the time,

To contort verses, in order to rhyme.

I’ve read some great poets, just to know ‘em,

But, I just don’t want to, write a poem!


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