Posted tagged ‘Dante Gabriel Rosetti girl with scone dormitory’

“Collapse (Of The Memory Palace)” A la Rossetti (Dante Gabriel)

December 2, 2012


Collapse (of the Memory Palace)

Onces I could recall
were once numbered in the many,
like a building so stories tall–
now, not any.
Not true, not fair.  Still, a lodging rather small

now houses about all.
And it seems to be built of scone,
the kind with currents sultanal–
I’d prefer stone,
which wouldn’t flake as I walk down the hall,

spot grease on every wall
instead of portraits, landscapes, fine,
their contours round me like a shawl,
warm with that time–
lost many–before memory’s crumbled fall.

A reading of the poem:


My picture, in case for some strange reason you can’t quite tell, is meant to be a scone house.  I am posting this for a With Real Toads challenge of Kerry O’Connor to write a poem in a rhyming and meter format developed by the Pre-Raphaelite painter and poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882). I’ve used one of Rossetti’s images (the face in the window of the scone house), and also stretched/squeezed in some of his background leaves.

 For American readers, sultanas are known in the U.S. as golden raisins – I’m afraid I’ve made them too dark in my picture.  A “memory palace” is an age-old technique for memorization, which involves placing whatever is to be remembered in a slightly strange context in some part of a known physical space.   (Joshua Foer has written a wonderful book about this – MOONWALKING WITH EINSTEIN.)  I was not frankly thinking about that use of memory when initially writing the poem, but it’s kind of a fun connection. 

Check out Kerry’s prompt for more info on Rossetti’s form, and also for other poets taking the challenge.

Also, if you get a moment, CHECK OUT MY BOOKS!  Great for Christmas presents!  Poetry, GOING ON SOMEWHERE, (by Karin Gustafson, illustrated by Diana Barco). 1 Mississippi -toddlers’ counting book for lovers of rivers, light and pachyderms, orNose Dive. Nose Dive is available on Kindle for just 99 cents!