In a previous post, I shared that I decided to be more intentional about writing and reading poetry in 2020. Many poetic forms have intrigued me over the years, so investigating poetry more has led me to new forms. Writing poems in different forms has been a way to challenge myself.
Luc Bat is a Vietnamese poetic form that I learned about last year. Luc Bat means “six, eight” and refers to the fact that this form has alternating lines of six and eight syllables. The rhyme scheme is what really intrigued me though. The last word of the six syllable line rhymes with the sixth syllable in the eight syllable line. The last word of the eighth syllable line then becomes the new rhyme for the next six syllable line, so that is looks like this:
xxxxxA xxxxxAxB xxxxxB xxxxxBxC
I’ve attempted several Luc Bat poems since discovering the form. One of my favorites is called, “Look, Cat.” The idea came one morning when I felt exasperated by one of my cats and realized “Look, Cat” also sounds like “Luc Bat.” The experience is now memorialized in the verse below, which will appear in my next book, Event Horizon.
Look, Cat (for my cats, Lily and Nilli) Look, cat—I’ve pet you. What more do you want? Eggs sputter in this pan. They’ll burn within minutes if I don’t finish them up. No one can condemn me for that. But there’s blame in your eyes, and you just cry more plaintively than before. Pleeease, shut your meow-th or I’ll go nuts! Okaaay, I’ll check your water and food. They’re full. Yet you stand and fuss. Can you be banned from here? Or from bending my ear? Left on my plate, I fear my eggs are cold. I scarf the dregs as you paw at my legs, pricking my shins as you’re snagging my pants. There’s no winning with you so I turn from my food and look your way. On cue, it seems, you drop your gaze and preen, licking ‘til there’s a sheen to your coat. With that, looking bored, you completely ignore me, then saunter off like you’ve been indulgent enough. Then you shoot me a look as if you would say, “Well, what do you want, freak?”