17/30: Good Mourning

So today we're going to work on an elegy.

What's an elegy, you ask?

It began a long time ago, in a galaxy... er... country, far, far way.  Traditionally, it's a metered form written in couplets, but let's put that aside for now.  Let's concentrate on how an elegy thinks.  How it feels.

Typically, an elegy will occur, or move through three stages.  First is the lament, where the poet spells out the loss in no uncertain terms.  Next comes the celebration, or idolization of the deceased, putting them on their pedestal, as it were.  Finally, there is the realization of their passing through the discvery of solace or a form of consolation (the lesson learned, or something approximating it).

Some modern poets have moved beyond using an elegy as a way of remembering or commemorating the dead and into a form to contemplate or morun other things, such as wars themselves, or the passage of an era, even as a way to examine the world around them, to celebrate or mourn what they see in their every day lives.

Choose for yourself.  Either find somebody to write an elegy for or about, or perhaps get a bit creative and find a thing, an idea, a way of life to mourn.  Write an elegy for a fictional character ("Poor Donny... he loved to surf..."), or something you miss (Elegy for Summer of '87 or Elegy for My Blue Corduroys).  Go existential and write an elegy for somebody you don't know and acknowledge your lack of knowledge of the person.  Lay Windows xp to rest with an elegy.  Gamers, write an elegy for a boss you beat.  Musicians, write an elegy for the piece of music you heard butchered on the radio last night, or at the concert where the band was so stoned out of their minds they couldn't tuna piano with a fishing pole (Speedwagon fans?  Anyone?  Yeah?).  See what you can do.

 

Take a minute and read Stillborn Elegy by Traci Brimhall.