I’ll just wait here while you work out how to pronounce that one. Ancient Greek is a bugbear. Ready to go? Okay. An epithalamium is a wedding song, a poem to celebrate a marriage. In this Oulipo variation, we are to take the name of a bethrothed couple from the paper, and compose a poem based on words which can be derived from their combined names. For a challenge, limit yourself to words which can be found in the wedding announcement. For an added challenge, find a wedding announcement.
It seems that engagement and wedding announcments are just no longer done in newspapers, so I resorted to finding a pair of names online. Because I had no article to constrain me, I just chose words created for me by Scrabble Word Find, and added the constraint of writing a minute poem (that’s minute, as in the unit of time, not as in extremely small). Minute poems have sixty syllables in three stanzas of 8, 4, 4, 4 each. I really enjoy working with the minute form, and in this instance, it was an incredibly welcome limitation. I was simply overwhelmed by the number of words which were available to me via the Scrabble Word Find, and the compact nature of the form helped me to focus. The letters I had to work with were quite generous – A,B,C,E,G,H,I,L,M,N,O,P,R,S,W,and Y. I began with the thought of this being a flower poem for the wedding, but I’d have to say it devolved into something entirely different. I blame the sunflowers; everyone knows they are thugs..
Check out epithalamiums from other Ouliposters at the Found Poetry Review.
We own the mown rows, layering
Brown centers spin,
in the bitter soil, sharing heat
prisms, no sweet
posy, no thin
pylons, this noisy rosemaling
romps across, grows.
We’re not sharing