Over the weekend of September 22-23 2012 Robert Mezey wrote me as follows:
"Here’s an invented form, and certainly odd, that I’ve never seen or heard of before. An old student of mine has taken my sonnet "Hardy" and written another poem using exactly the same words. I don’t know whether she has given it a name—I seem to recall her saying something about “recombinant” (as in DNA?) Anyway, her poem surprised me; it seemed much better than I thought it would be. You might be interested in it for your collection."
Mezey's original poem is as follows:
Thrown away at birth, he was recovered,
Plucked from the swaddling-shroud, and chafed and slapped,
The crone implacable. At last he shivered,
Drew the first breath, and howled, and lay there, trapped
In a world from which there is but one escape
And that forestalled now almost ninety years.
In such a scene as he himself might shape,
The maker of a thousand songs appears.
From this it follows, all the ironies
Life plays on one whose fate it is to follow
The way of things, the suffering one sees,
The many cups of bitterness he must swallow
Before he is permitted to be gone
Where he was headed in that early dawn.
Robert Mezey, From Collected Poems: 1952-1999, University of Arkansas
Press, © 2000. Reprinted by permission of the author.
And here is the second poem:
Slapped from the dawn,
chafed and trapped in it,
at a thousand things
in that implacable world,
and lay there on the swaddling,
recovered from birth.
This one was permitted to be!
He, the one whose maker
plucked and drew away the early shroud.
The first breath was shivered
to where all life is headed,
but before that escape,
he must shape songs
of the ironies of fate,
swallow the bitterness,
such as it is, thrown
in many cups.
And at last he is gone.
The crone forestalled
almost ninety years
appears and plays a scene
of suffering from which
he sees a way one might follow.
Now he follows himself there.
by Callie Cardamon, © 2012, all rights reserved by the author.