The first sunset after a winter freeze
At the beginning of this year, Christine Graves, a member of the PW editorial team, asked us to write poems inspired by the following concept: "The first sunset after a winter freeze."
A wonderful prompt, don't you think? It was perfect for a vardhaku.
salute early new light;
the distance between shadows grows relentlessly,
releasing the trapped mistiness of bleak bygone days —
earth’s handwriting lives between land and sky too.
©2022 Cendrine Marrouat
What Is the Vardhaku?
The Vardhaku is a poetry form I co-invented with linguist and short story writer Justin Smith in 2021, as an invitation to reflect on one’s personal growth.
The Vardhaku is a portmanteau word consisting of the following elements:
- “vardha”, a Sanskrit word meaning ‘the act of increasing, giving increase or prosperity; augmenting; gladdening’ or ‘cutting, dividing’ (Source: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary)
- “ku”, as in ‘haiku’
The Vardhaku is an expanding five-line poem divided into two parts: The first four lines describe a problem or situation, with the fifth line offering a positive / inspirational resolution. Title and punctuation are optional.
Using a combination of syllables and words, the Vardhaku mainly focuses on conciseness to deliver an impactful message to the reader. It must be composed in one of the following formats:
- 1, 3, 5, 7 words (lines 1–4) / 10 syllables (line 5)
- 1, 3, 5, 7 syllables (lines 1–4) / 10 words (line 5)
- 2, 4, 6, 8 words (lines 1–4) / 11 syllables (line 5)
- 2, 4, 6, 8 syllables (lines 1–4) / 11 words (line 5)
That's it for today!
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