Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Different Task


I have taken upon myself a task that is becoming quite a challenging project.

I'm involved in the activities of a group promoting Hamilton as the "Waterfall Capital of the World," the city with more waterfalls within its boundaries than any other. Some of the earlier background research found a poem concerned with a legend attached to one of the more spectacular waterfalls. In a poem written in about 1900 and called Na-Go-She-Onong, a J. L. Lewis tells the story of a native princess who died with her lover in a leap over Webster's Falls.
The story is straightforward, a tale of love and jealousy that ends in tragedy. However, the original poem consists of 216 lines, 27 stanzas of eight lines each. Since I'm a poet and most of the others photographers, I was challenged to turn it into something that could be read or recited at gatherings without boring the audience with length and detail. I accepted that challenge.

Because of the non-literary nature of my primary audience, I have decided to rewrite it in "poetry" they know, structured with rhyme and rhythm. I am approaching it by using a ballad form. The problem now is how much of the narrative can be left out, only hinted at; how much of the description is necessary.

So far I have a framework in mind and the first several stanzas have been written as tetrameter quatrains. Now to touch on the important points of the "story" and keep it all simple and succinct.
Honour the lady, the legend, and the place!

1 comment:

annaken said...

Neat! Shall look forward to seeing the completed poem.