Thursday, June 2, 2011

A square poem of Romania

When I'm working on a poem that resists my efforts to express what I must say, sometimes I turn to the square for a rescue -- that is, I attempt to find the best words by re-forming the poem as a square (same number of lines as syllables per line).  That is how I came to the following poem, "The Bear Cave,"  (a 9 x 9 square). 

     The Bear Cave      by JoAnne Growney

     Twenty-five years ago at Chiscau,
     marble quarry workers discovered,
     trapped by an earthquake in a wondrous,
     enormous cave, bones of one hundred
     and ninety bears, Ursus spelaeus
     (now extinct). Cold rooms of cathedral
     splendor now render tourists breathless
     while the insistent drip of water
     counts the minutes. There is no safe place.

Included in my 2010 collection, Red Has No Reason, "The Bear Cave" has also been included in a recent anthology of Romanian Literature, Bucharest Tales:  a collection of Central European Contemporary writing (New Europe Writers, LTD, 2011).

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