indigo miles

we breathe the dark away, and flow
directionless through empty pipes
step up the edge on muted cries

where crackling fires give soft-pale glow
i touch you light and stop the night
pure silver shining sailboats blow

traversing indigo for miles
we breathe the dark away, and flow


The octain is a new poem form, invented by Luke Prater – jump over to One Stop Poetry’s Form Monday to read the interview with Luke

Octain Structure is:
eight lines as two tercets and a couplet, eight syllables per line with the first line repeated (as much as possible) as the last. Meter is iambic or trochaic tetrameter, but fine to just count eight syllables per line for those who prefer that.

Rhyme scheme:

(A = repeated refrain line. ‘c/c’ refers to line five having midline (internal) rhyme, which is different to the a- and b-rhymes)


35 responses to “indigo miles

  1. This is lovely 🙂 I say that with full appreciation of your ability to conform to the form as it seems I can not!

    It matters not how long I stare
    Devoted all this block of time
    I can’t persuade these words to rhyme

    So generous this poet’s toy to share
    No easy game for me his form
    No pleasing scheme can I ensnare

    Limp attempt, a befuddled crime
    I’ve gone quite mad, just rock and stare

    • actually, Randy, that’s pretty good. I like that you’ve turned it on its head and successfully written one about how you can’t write one. Only line 5 needs to have internal rhyme – something like ‘It’s not the norm for me, this form’. Also line 4 has 10 syllables not 8 – but just cutting ‘poet’s’ (which in my opinion is redundant anyway) would do it –

      So generous, this toy to share

      You have written this almost totally in iambic meter – which is preferable – except for line 7. But if you did this, it would be iambic –

      A limp attempt, befuddled crime

      A-refrain line is a little too varied perhaps, you only have the repetition of the end word ‘stare’, probably it needs to feel more like a refrain by repeating more of the first line. And you’re done! Nice… I’ll come and post this on yours if you miss it


      • Claudia & Luke thanks for the encouragement. Will this suffice?

        It matters not how long I stare
        Devoted whole this block of time
        I can’t persuade these words to rhyme

        So generous, this toy to share
        A vexing swarm for me his form
        No pleasing scheme can I ensnare

        A limp attempt, befuddled crime
        I’m hatters now, so long I stare

  2. i had already heard of Luke’s invention of the octain. my memory’s so bad i can’t remember if i actually read any on his site. this is beautiful, Claudia!

    “we breathe the dark away, and flow”

    this line touches something inside of me, totally capturing my attention for a good five minutes at least ~ more feeling it than any thoughts. it’s powerful and consoling at the same time to me. and the title is just stunning! but stunning is a word i use almost every time i read your poetry. i need to expand my vocabulary. {smile} i’ll be over at One Stop sometime Monday.

    i can’t wait to get your featured poet post up on my site. {unfortunately my laptop is getting worse so i may have to wait until i get the desktop pc.}

  3. nice…flow through pipes and the sail boats, bith nice images…used to sail years ago…you capture the form well claudia

  4. The rhythm and music of the words made this so fluid it almost became abstract. I had to read it twice to see the image but the feel is so textual it took me away. So deft, that it didn’t seem like form either. Wonderful. Gay

  5. “we breathe the dark away, and flow…” one of the best lines ever, Claudia. It says everything about who the characters in the poem are, and who/what we, as readers can be. A beautiful, impressionistic set of images, and a great use of Luke’s form.

  6. Fantastic title! Enough to draw me in alone despite knowing it is an octain, which is fast becoming a favourite form of mine. You have such a talent for conjuring images using colour and light- your style places me back in school reading the Gothic greats of the Victorian era and just before. Having said that, you also have unshakeable romanticism, placing you very near the top of my favourite modern poets.

  7. And yes, to concur with Mary, was “you light” perhaps intended as ‘your light’? (It might also have been ‘you lightly’, but that would have overrun your meter).

    Of course, you could also be referring to light as a personification, such as, “I touch you, light, and stop the night”.

    Whatever way, it does little, if nothing, to detract from what is a great, great octain.

  8. I think it’s marvelous how you can write so beautifully conforming to a specific form. It would take me endless hours, I think, and still not be able to produce such a lovely poem. This one is so smooth, I can picture myself in the dark.

  9. “we breathe the dark away, and flow”

    Glad this is the repeating line. I dig mixed up senses, and there’s a super amount of movement in this line. Yay! 😀

  10. Hi Cloudy –

    I think I’ve seen this one on the Crit Board before? I think ‘touch you light’ works fine, especially as most of your readership is American and it’s common to strip the ‘-ly’ suffix from adverbs. The preposition ‘on’ in line 3 seems odd to me though. Should it not be ‘in’ (‘in muted cries’)? Also ‘step up the edge’ is unusual phrasing in terms of prepositions. ‘Step up TO the edge’ (but this would fit the meter), or ‘step to the edge’ (no ‘up’) is how I’d do it if it were mine. Given poetic license I think it can work as it is, but for me not preferable but of course you may disagree. It’s not really a grammar issue, I think we’re well in the bounds of poetic license. Unless you’re actually meaning stepping up the edge of something? (sounds dangerous and impossible). I’d have the whole line as ‘step to the edge in muted cries’, or ‘of muted cries’ (the edge of muted cries).

    Very fine Octain, Claudia. Many superb lines. I particularly like the ’empty pipes’ line, your ‘soft-pale glow’, and ‘traversing indigo’ is undeniably delish.

  11. I didn’t read it as soon as I saw that you had made a recording. I wanted to listen to it before I had formed any opinion whatsoever. Its haunting the way you recite it with deep echo and maybe a tad of distortion.

    If I could provide anything remotely this good, I think I would delighted. The recording just completely bought it to life for me.