The Inverted Refrain, or: Creativity verses form

Sangeetha & David’s new poetry project

Once upon a time, two poets who’d never met in person began writing verses back and forth over the Internet. Their first project took them some nine months: a 100 verse Hyakuin.

Once they’d completed their first oeuvre, they decided to continue their journey together; and Sangeetha came up with a fun idea. Beginning in January ’22, they took turns selecting poetic forms beginning with the letters of the alphabet (A through Z) and wrote poems to one another using those forms.

Upon completing that second project, Sangeetha suggested that they go through the alphabet once more, this time with an addition twist… In their new series, for every letter of the alphabet (A through Z), the two would select not only a poetic form but also – a keyword for each poem.

For ‘I’, David selected the ‘Inverted Refrain’ form and the keyword ‘Imagination’.


I: Inverted Refrain

David’s Inverted Refrain

Kind magic Fairy Queen rules realms
In vast worlds of her creation;
Each day, she reassumes the helm
Of my child's imagination.
        Quite often, I feel overwhelmed
        By her mind's nonstop creation.

Her darling husband's Peter Pan;
Disney's princesses are her friends.
Together, they have formed a plan
To bring wickedness to an end.
        The perfect plan with Peter Pan;
        I don't care, but I must pretend.

As she grows older, she's exposed
To ever more movies and books;
Plus she sure digs those children's shows
In which heroes catch cunning crooks.
        She shows me shows about heroes;
        Sighing, I give them a quick look.

We regularly go on walks,
To school, shopping, or for ice cream.
Of fantasies, there's ceaseless talk; 
Of magic, science, adventure themes.
        As my child walks, she talks and talks;
        Faeries have overrun my dreams.

Sangeetha’s Inverted Refrain

She holds my dreams as she wanders
In stories of enchanted days
Paved with white wishes and wonders
Beyond a rainbow door, she says,
        Where reality surrenders
        As I do, to her trusting gaze

Sunlight ripples through her soft voice
She talks of what ifs and what nots
My mind is freed and I rejoice
In the realm of this tiny tot
        She sees the world with new bright eyes
        Making magic with what she's got

Imagination paints with grace
On pristine skies of tomorrow 
Crystal stars in infinite space
Strung on heart hope, tied with a bow
        Possibilities to embrace;
        My precious child...somehow, she knows

Tender dreams follow her footfall; 
With utmost faith, my hand she holds
Into the unknown, she walks tall
Scripting sweet stories yet untold
        Step by small step, she does it all
        She goes where her future unfolds

Inverted Refrain?

  • Consists of four 6-line stanzas, for a total of 24 lines;
  • Rhyme scheme per stanza:
    • Lines #1-4 are abab;
    • Lines #5 and #6, the two inverted refrain lines, can be a,b or b,a;
  • Meter: 8 syllables in every line;
  • The first 4 lines of a stanza create a statement from which the last 2 lines extract the meaning and invert the way it was said;
  • The last two lines of each stanza, which are the โ€˜inverted refrainโ€™, are indented as a couplet.

Sangeetha & David’s ‘Creativity verses form’

  1. The Alliterisen (#alternatives)
  2. The Bragi (#books) [1st attempt]
  3. The Bragi (#books) [correct]
  4. The Cadae (#crisis)
  5. The Dodoitsu (#desire)
  6. The Emmett (#elves)
  7. The Fold (#friend)
  8. The Golda (#gravity)
  9. The Harrisham (#hope)
  10. The Inverted Refrain (#imagination)
  11. The Jram (#jubilee)
  12. The Kลel (#kismet)
  13. The Lai (#love)
  14. The Monometric (#motivation)
  15. The Nove Otto (#night)

Let’s write poetry together!

When it comes to partnership, some humans can make their lives alone – it’s possible. But creatively, it’s more like painting: you can’t just use the same colours in every painting. It’s just not an option. You can’t take the same photograph every time and live with art forms with no differences.

Ben Harper (b. 1969)

Would you like to create poetry with me and have a completed poem of yours featured here at the Skeptic’s Kaddish? I am very excited to have launched the ‘Poetry Partners’ initiative and am looking forward to meeting and creating with you… Check it out!

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