light, Poetry Friday

Loveliest of Trellis, the Chervonets Now


Loveliest of Trellis, the Chervonets Now

Loveliest of trellis the chervonets now
Is hung with blooper along the boulder
And stands about the woolpack ridicule
Wearing whitleather for easting.

Now of my thresher yeast and tenancy
Twig will not come again.
And take from severalty springer a scorpion
It only leaves me figment more.

And since to look at thinker in blooper
Figment springer are little root
About the woolpack I will go
to see the chervonets hung with snuggery.

V. Nesdoly

My huge apologies to A. E. Housman, who wrote the original

(which I present to you now, along with a tree to match):

cherry tree in bloom

Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry Now

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

A. E. Housman

National Poetry month made me do it—make a travesty of Mr. Housman’s lovely poem. Actually, it was inspired by the April 10th prompt on the Poets & Writers site:

Write a poem using the N+7 form, conceived of by the French poets of the Oulipo movement. Choose a text and replace each noun in that text with the noun occurring seven entries below it in your dictionary. Next, try the exercise with one of your own poems.

What is the Oulipo movement? According to Wikipedia, Oulipo was short for a French phrase roughly translated “Workshop of potential literature.” The movement consisted of a group of French-speaking writers and mathematicians who sought to create literary works using constrained writing techniques.

Some other Oulipo constraints:

A poem in which each line is a single word, and each successive word is one letter longer.

Writing that excludes one or more letters. The previous sentence is a lipogram in B, F, H, J, K, Q, V, Y, and Z (it does not contain any of those letters).

Prisoner’s constraint, also called Macao constraint
A type of lipogram that omits letters with ascenders and descenders (b, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, p, q, t, and y).

Sonnets and other poems constructed using palindromic techniques.

A poem using only one vowel, although the vowel may be used in any of its aural forms. For example, “born” and “cot” could both be used in a univocalism, but “sue” and “beau” could not.

poetry+friday+button+-+fulllThis post is submitted to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Irene Latham at Live Your Poem where you will find a  wealth of wonderful, proper, and no doubt some more silly poems too.

14 thoughts on “Loveliest of Trellis, the Chervonets Now”

  1. I’ve always liked that Loveliest of Trees poem. Where did you find that picture? What a fun version you’ve written, Violet. A great contrast with the original lol.


      1. Thanks Matt. I think National Poetry Month is good for more than just writing poems, i.e. also great for educating oneself about things like odd forms and constraints. (A month in the poetry sandbox!)


    1. Thanks Irene, and thanks for hosting! Actually, this wasn’t that hard because all I had to do was consult my dictionary–which makes the result pretty random. That foot tree-topper tickled my funny bone too. (One never knows when old photos will come in handy.)


  2. Do you think that these poets created the forms to find even more challenges, or to play jokes on poet friends, Violet. They look hard! Your poem reminded me of jabberwocky at first, but it is a little easier to follow. I wonder if you will slow down, and move around the forms, trying this one or that one? Thanks Violet. Your poetry always makes me thing!


    1. I wondered the same thing Linda. I’m not sure what they were trying to achieve. I noted that members of that group were described as mathematicians as well as literary types. Perhaps it was matter of creating mind puzzles and challenges for themselves?

      There are poets who encourage randomness, and sound poets who focus more on sound than meaning. I did this more to fill my poem quota on a slow day than to create a memorable work, that’s for sure. I figure in a month when you try to write a poem a day, some days your poem can be a throwaway, like this one.


  3. No offense, but I love Mr. Houseman’s so much that it took me about three tries to even get through yours. Now that I see what you were doing, I appreciate the fun you had with your dictionary!!


  4. “About the woolpack I will go
    to see the chervonets hung with snuggery.”

    This poem is a hoot, Violet. I could not figure out what was going on -very unlike most of your poems! Thanks for enlightening me about the Oulipo movement. I bet kids would have a ball with this exercise. I want to try!


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