The Bar I Won't Seek
There’s a bar I won’t seek
no matter how cheap is the drink.
For it conjures memories of being weak.
I used to bring myself to the brink
Finding oblivion in gin
or in beer, dark as ink.
There, I thought I could win
Against my enemy loneliness
But my armor was made of tin.
So, there I drank to excess
to deaden the pain,
only to become a sloshed mess.
Finally, it registered in my brain;
I was living a lie.
I was really slipping down a drain.
So, I said good-bye
To that bar
And found a new high.
Now, life is on par
Without that damn drink
And happiness is never far.
So, if I see that bar I won’t stop to drink
I’ll keep going
Won’t live my life on the brink.
What is Terza Rima?
Terza Rima is a lyrical poem divided into tercets (three-lined stanzas) that are interlinked by an intricate rhyme scheme (aba, bcb, cdc, ded…). It has a long history in Italian literature and has been modified for use in the English language. Among the most powerful example of this form can be found in Dante’s writing including his most famous work, The Divine Comedy (La Divina Commedia).
In English literature, writers such as Lord Byron and MacLeish concentrated on using masculine rhymes (often words with strong, stressed beats). Other poets such as A.H. Auden focused on speech rhythm and syllabic verses in accordance with rhymes. T.S Elliot, on the other hand, experimented with unrhymed lines that used terza rima arrangements.
Macleish also experimented with the format by incorporating anapestic rhythms (a foot of three syllables with the first two unstressed and the last one stressed) and avoiding exact rhymes (instead of bait= wait, it can be bait=base).
Today, Terza Rima is often used with exact rhymes and can have four to 10 tercet stanzas. Often, the topics will vary.
© 2013 Dean Traylor