Let rust replace our slavery

Photo modified in iColorama

Photo modified in iColorama

In stagnant steam and smoke — machinery
condemns us to be servants to their wheels;
we add some oil to quench its squeal
we’re locked in this foreboding slavery.
In gearbox noise the nature’s scenery
seems burnt and sacrificed in profit deals
to pass the quotas set in stainless steel
for wages that are close to thievery.

But when the air is dense from daffodils
in May we’re lulled by birdsong symphony
to go outside — remove our broken shoes
and barefoot dance with chlorophyll.
We let the rust invade our factory
replacing stainless steel with vibrant hues

Today at dVerse MTB I handle the bar, and the task is to write a piece of poetry containing a volta, I have chosen to write a Volta in a Petrarchan sonnet where the volta is a resolution placed between the octet and the end sextet. But you are free to use any type of volta in any type of poetry.

February 18, 2015

37 responses to “Let rust replace our slavery

  1. Ah, I think your poem expresses the importance of getting out of the ‘factory’ with all of its rust and stress & spending time in the out of doors. One can’t help but be invigorated by the birdsong!

  2. After the very claustrophobic description of factory work, the daffodils – and all they evoke – come as a welcome relief. I am all for ‘vibrant hues’.

  3. i love the artistry of rust….it was def make for some quite beautiful marks…as long as we work to live and not live to work…and can get out and enjoy, letting a little rust in is not a bad things…ha

  4. I admire the turn here:

    But when the air is dense from daffodils
    in May we’re lulled by birdsong symphony

    Very well done sonnet Bjorn ~ I must write one again soon ~

  5. What a volte-face indeed, when spring is in the air! A very Wordsworthian feel to the second part, while the first part recalls the belching chimneys of progress of Victorian times…

  6. My father worked for years in a factory. His greatest joy were his gardens. The day he died, there were hundreds of daffodils blooming. Oh, how he left the rust to dance to the symphony and scent of those daffodils! This puts me in mind of that.

  7. The shift at the Volta is clear, pronounced and dramatic. The imagery is undeniable as is your voice. The poem is a call to nature in a time of too much regimentation and slavery to work and we seem to need reminding of that often.

    A couple of suggestions though, if I may (but please excuse if I am out of line or in some way changing your original intent). I think the “the” before “nature” might be better served with some adjective perhaps like “lush”; and then “sacrificed” probably should be followed by “to” rather than “in” as that’s one of those English idiomatic usages.

    Notwithstanding, as always you have written a beautiful sonnet in your own vibrant voice! Kudos and thank you for the fine prompt!

  8. Maybe not. I’m sorry. I see why you used “in” instead of “to” there as you were using it in the next line. Place it down to mental feebleness. I wrote without re-reading properly. My bad!

  9. I like the sentiment of desire for freedom from the upkeep of factory machines. I didn’t know that stainless steel rusted! And then, of course, farm machinery needs care just when the spring is calling to us. I found this prompt challenging. When I finished I noted I had some rhyme, but I assure you it was accidental. I really tried for meter and volta. Yours is great.

  10. I don’t think I would change a thing if I were you.. It’s very beautiful and inspiring.. Though I think we’ll always be slaves.. we are still free to change the way we see things and focus on what’s good. I mean, who could ignore a beautiful flower through the midst of such smoke and fog? There’s hope in every petal, you see.. and in every line..

  11. Such foreboding acceding to the whims of big business reducing workers to slave with merger wages. The volta is clearly evident in the turn to good times and basking in spring’s greenery after the octave. Greqt write Bjorn!


  12. Sounds like you aptly described Spring Fever! I love the total shift from the bleak factory to the air outside, heavy with life renewed. Loved it.

    (I may call in sick today.)

  13. This is indeed a nice demonstration of volta. And you master pentameter. And the message is clear, that time off is giving relief. Maybe that is why alienation in Marx’s terms will not occur, leading to revolution. I like the poem.

    My critique is that your rhymes are not perfect, and that you use words strange to mind.

    • Thank you Anders, as for rhymes it was entirely intentional not to use perfect rhymes.. I feel that it sometimes get to “bouncy”… so I have made the choice of getting those pairs that are just close. As a matter of fact if you check out the original Italian sonnets they where not always perfectly rhymed either.. but all this is a matter of personal choice.. as for some of the word choices they where the one that came to mind, but also to create a little “rust” or imperfection in the poem to make it interesting… but also that is a matter of taste.

  14. So true. And so elegantly, and eloquently, expressed. I hope we can trade our stagnant smoke and steel for air that is dense with daffodils!
    Thank you for this–and for the wonderful prompt.

  15. Bjorn, just as you commented on my “future” poem, I would say, “right back atcha” with this, another peek. First, I must comment on the form. As usual, I looked at the challenge and my eyes rolled back in my head; my very being, fragile in its chemical imbalance, had to be rebooted; there was nothing left to attempt the volta!! Your use of it, along with the sonnet form, is arresting to say the least.

    I was sort of ambic pentambering my way though and was struck by your rhymes, but I found them interesting in their imperfection, much as I am a fan of asymmetry. Perfection is for the most part boring. Give me something to chew on. Something Zen. I LOVED this poem, Bjorn, thanks so much.

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