Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Honey Month, Day 6 (2/6/2011)

"Day 6 - Lemon Creamed Honey

Colour: Pale yellow and cloudy, just about the colour of lemon flesh.

Smell: I've described others as having a faint citrus after-scent, but this one has a real lemon bite to it, makes me expect to see bits of pulp in the vial.

Taste: Refreshing. The lemon in this is like morning light, its sweetness juicy rather than sugary, without the slightest hint of tartness or sourness, like lemon and honey bind in a way that cancels out the less desirable qualities of each and marries only their virtues together. Delicious."

Today's writing is a short poem, with a strong rhyme, an ABA ABA scheme. The rhythm seems a little off to me, some of the lines a little shorter than others, but it works - it's sort of a walking/marching chant, and so the rhythm pulls you along, forcing you into a particular stride. It's also an odd cautionary tale - perhaps, sometimes, it is not wise to go against the warnings of others? But, I'm not sure - there is a sense of regret at the end of the poem, but at the same time, there is the strong implication that there was no other choice than the one the speaker made, and the laughter at the end does not seem to be directed at the speaker - perhaps it is a welcoming laughter. So, it's not entirely clear if this poem is a "march to the beat of your own drum" poem or a "march to the beat of the drum for which you are suited" poem, or something in between. I like it.

eta: Amal points out that this poem is a villanelle, one of two in the collection. From wikipedia:

villanelle is a poetic form which entered English-language poetry in the 19th century from the imitation of French models. The word derives from the Italian villanella from Latin villanus (rustic). A villanelle has only two rhyme sounds. The first and third lines of the first stanza are rhyming refrains that alternate as the third line in each successive stanza and form a couplet at the close. A villanelle is nineteen lines long, consisting of five tercets and one concluding quatrain. In music, it is a dance form, accompanied by sung lyrics or an instrumental piece based on this dance form.

I can totally see this piece as a dance form.

A note on what's going on here. Two years ago, Amal El-Mohtar began a month long exploration of a variety of honeys, tasting and describing each, and then writing a short piece of fiction, or a poem, or something of that nature which was inspired by the honey of the day. Last year, these posts were collected into a short book - more formal than a simple chapbook, perhaps - called The Honey Month, which I reviewed when it came out. My biggest problem, at that time, was that I ploughed through the book too quickly, and so I resolved to do a more careful reading of it at a later date. That later date is now - the posts were originally a February project, and so there are 28 honey days. This is now February, and I cannot think of a better time to slowly read poems and stories about honey. The material in quotation marks is the description of the day's honey, from the book (so that you get a good taste of Amal's lovely writing), what follows that is a brief thought about the piece of poetry or fiction of that day from yours truly.

In addition to my daily reviews, Amal has been re-running the original posts with what she is describing as "DVD Extras," some commentary on the piece for the day, some discussion of the differences between the original post and the finished piece in the book, and some delicious LJ Honey Month icons. The first of the re-runs is here, and I have been linking the appropriate post via the daily title, above, as the post becomes available. Amal is currently in England (because she is fabulous), and so her sense of what time it is and my sense of what time it is are somewhat askew. And that's ok.

(A further note on spelling - Amal is Canadian (as am I, for that matter), and so she spell colour and many other words in the proper way. She also pronounces Z as zed, like the entire rest of the world.)