Canzone – Literally “song” in Italian, the canzone is a lyric poem originating in medieval Italy and France and usually consisting of hendecasyllabic lines with end-rhyme. The canzone influenced the development of the sonnet – poetryfoundation.org
Spring (to H.D.)
Past the long and unkind embrace of winter,
Now is brutal rebirth of Spring, that dirty
Ragged flailing of life to fill the empty
Broken ground and choke up the sky with reaching,
Gasping hunger for heat. The wind rampages
And the nakedness snow had clothed now shivers
Under turbulent clouds, by swollen rivers.
I, too, abhor that goddess myth of preaching
Modernists, with their boy’s idealism bleaching
The deep cruelty of Spring, because your vision
Taught me. Yours were the words, the cool precision,
Made so lasting a mark upon my teaching
That now, when Spring becomes, I feel the shred
Of roots, I see the blood in maple’s red
So when I looked up hendecasyllabic lines, wikipedia told me that no-one really uses them in English. It turns out that’s because they’re stupidly hard to write. However, because I am stubborn, I stuck with it, except for the last two lines because that’s structurally justifiable.
I also had a hard time settling on something to write about this time, since the form is so open in terms of themes. It was originally just going to be about the Spring, it being finally not a frozen wasteland here, but ended up shifting into engaging with H.D.’s representation of Spring, which was formative for me. I was reminded as I was looking through one of my old poetry anthologies that I wrote an essay on H.D. at some point in undergrad. I like the idea I was going for in this poem, even if the execution is not great.