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March 28, 2012 / Sez

Hound (Poetry Form Fifteen: Alliterative Verse)

As promised, a poem for Helen’s other whippet, Charlie. Charlie is not really a whippet. He is one of those medieval hunting dogs you see on tapestries. I actually don’t think he is real at all.

So I decided to go for Gawayne and the Grene Knight style alliterative verse, as I thought that would make him feel at home.
Fun fact! Proper famous poet Simon Armitage – who has met Charlie – has translated Gawain and the Green Knight and Le Morte d’Arthur into modern alliterative verse – check it out!


An anomaly, not of the now, an anachronism,

He sits, stick-straight, at his mistress’ side

His sinuous shape silk stitching, a shining skein,

Bright eye a bead: black, brilliant, bold.

How is he here in this heaving house

Of ratarsed revelers, rowdy and rudely reeling?

Did he blithely bound from an embroidered bower,

Tear from his tapestry, trailing threads?

No modern mongrel, this medieval mutt,

But a handsome hound from a hearty hunt

Set free from centuries of stylised stillness

To proudly protect his poet patron.

But where is the wall hanging whence he wandered?

Who has his place in the howling hunt?

Perhaps a perturbed and petulant poodle

Who exchanged with Charlie, a charmed changeling.



Leave a Comment
  1. geezergirl1 / Mar 29 2012 1:06 pm

    I think you have become one of my fav blogs. And… you do a great job on your poems. I intend to explore some of these styles so thanks for leading the way. Have you tried the Pantoum? It is now one of my favorite styles. I’m on my way to do one right now. Have a fabulous day.

    • Sarah Thomasin / Mar 29 2012 1:23 pm

      Thanks! Yep, pantoum is on my list! Not tried one before. I like the look of them, though: like a villanelle but not as irritating.

  2. Tim Ralphs / Mar 30 2012 7:18 am

    Gawayne and the grene knight is the death of alliterative verse. There are rhymes creeping into it at the end of every stanza. It’s the last of its kind.

    Also, I think I could make a compelling case for it being fan fiction.

    • Sarah Thomasin / Mar 30 2012 7:58 am

      … Making Arthurian legend the Twilight series of its day? Team Arthur! Team Lancelot!

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