Van Gogh's Olive Orchard (Poetry Form Thirty: Double Ethere)


April 12, 2012 by Sez

Yesterday I saw some Van Gogh paintings. I was particularly struck by one called the Olive Orchard. The inherent disquiet in such a stereotypically idyllic subject is quite upsetting up close. This is an ekphratic poem, in that it closely describes a work of art, but the form’s called ethere.
An ethere has ten lines and no pattern of rhythm or rhyme. Each line contains the same number of syllables as its line number. There is also a reverse ethere, which is the opposite (first line contains ten syllables, second has nine, etc.) This is a double ethere, consisting of an ethere followed by a reverse ethere.

A field
And sunlight.
This ought to be
A pastoral scene:
Summer in the country.
But the sky is turbulent
But the branches writhe like serpents
But the ground lurches beneath his feet.
So he takes his brush and tries to show us
The way his nightmares infiltrate the day.
He mixes his too-vivid colours
Feverishly tries to show us
How his world won’t stop moving:
Nothing is ever still
And there is no peace
Not even here
In sunlit


4 thoughts on “Van Gogh's Olive Orchard (Poetry Form Thirty: Double Ethere)

  1. aprille says:

    Makes more sense than the Fibonacci,
    where the final lines look out of proportion.
    [1/1/2/3/5/8/13/ ]
    Your double form looks appealing and would even support gobbledygook, merely for the way it looks.
    I am in no way inferring that yours is.On the contrary: it is as brilliant as Vincent’s colours and swirls.
    Very well done indeed.

    I am shamefully stealing your format ideas.

  2. Love it. Thanks for introducing me to so many new forms. This is one of my new favorites for its potential. You used it really well here.

  3. Mary Bauer says:

    I just found your site on NaPoWriMo. What a wonderful resource for those who love to read, write and teach poetry. Thank you.

  4. Barry says:

    Stumbling across your blog has helped a great deal with my writer’s block. You are a talented writer. I even like your rhyming poems (I know of few modern poets who can pull off rhyme without sounding corny or dated. Clearly, you’re gifted.)

    I think this form is one of my favorites from you. I think I will try it also.

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