In Verse Described!
Dante is famous. He imagined Hell,
A plain of burning flakes and sulphurous smell,
Pour souls afflicted in a sorry state,
And names the enemies he loves to hate.
But he’s no match for Milton’s inspiration,
No poet greater in imagination.
Yet Shakespeare most gets ink within these pages,
‘Twas he who said, “Our praises are our wages!”
Abdiel first encountered Buenos-Aires-based Tango orchestra, Orquesta Típica Fernández Fierro, in 2016. Spellbound by their live performance, he wrote this poem in tribute to them and later set it to one of their instrumental tracks, entitled “Marejada”, which means “heavy seas”. An orquesta típica includes a front line of bandoneón players – “bandoneonistas” – the bandoneón being at the heart of Argentine-Tango music. By kind permission of the orchestra, this poem includes their musical accompaniment or, rather, my verbal accompaniment to their music!
This poem takes the listener on an imaginary journey to the Throne of God, where four great angelic beings await, each with four wings and four faces. Ezekiel is literally swept off his feet! Based on Ezekiel – Chapter One in the Bible, this poem is set to the otherworldly music of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis.
Drinking Alone Under the Moon
The Chinese regard Lĭ Bái (701 AD – 762 AD) as their “Poet Immortal”, among the greats of China’s “Golden Age” during the Tang dynasty. But he is also termed “Vagabond Poet” for consuming legendary quantities of alcohol. Drinking Alone Under the Moon is among his most famous poems, here reworked by Abdiel into Shakespearean-Sonnet form.
Reworking ‘Zài Bié Kāngqiáo’ – or ‘Farewell, Cambridge’, by Chinese poet, Xú Zhìmó.
Iambic Pentameter – five heartbeats in a line of poetry – is the key building block of Shakespeare’s works and of most poetry written in the English language. Abdiel wrote this poem, in Iambic Pentameter of course, when teaching English in Chengdu, a city in the western Chinese province of Sichuan.
A Light-Hearted Commentary on Romeo and Juliet
Ode to the Cuarteto Biraben
The depth and quality of musical talent in Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina, never ceases to amaze me. Shortly after my arrival there in 2016, a neighbour introduced me to Federico Biraben, bandoneonist and composer of Tango-inspired music, and to his quartet – with violinist Alexey Musatov (also a member of the renowned Orquesta Típica Fernández Fierro), pianist Pablo Murgier, and Lautaro Muñoz on double bass. I wrote this sonnet after a performance by the quartet at Café Vinilo in Buenos Aires, August 2017.
Ode to the Moires
Sonnet in tribute to French dancer, Inko, and her company of tribal dancers, on their performance in Beijing.