Life’s Test

It is true, in my life nothing goes right
Everything I do ends with a stricken heart
Darkness overcomes and shadows the light
And these tragic endings tear me apart
I steer rigorously with all my might
With hard work all things look good from the start
And then that success gets tarnished with pain
No surprise because each season must wane

Why is it that I struggle every day
With all efforts my intentions are good
But all that is good is soon to decay
I follow the rules and do as I should
Do what I may it goes not as I say
And though I have tried everything I could
Soon the end comes with a destructive crash
The bits of my life end up in the trash

I ask how much more of this can one take
Is it expected that I try again
Caught in a nightmare where I do not wake
Over and over, no matter what it has been
Now I only go on for his own sake
Always waiting but never knowing when
The day will come when I can truly rest
Then I will know if I have passed the test

The Ottava Rima rhyming stanza form is of Italian origin. It was originally used for long poems on heroic themes, it later came to be popular in the writing of mock-heroic works. Its earliest known use is in the writings of Giovanni Boccaccio.
Boccaccio used ottava rima for a number of minor poems and, most significantly, for two of his major works, the Teseide (1340) and the Filostrato (1347). These two poems defined the form as the main one to be used for epic poetry in Italian for the next two centuries.
The first English poet to write mock-heroic ottava rima was John Hookham Frere, whose 1817-8 poem Prospectus and Specimen of an Intended National Work used the form to considerable effect. Byron read Frere’s work and saw the potential of the form. He quickly produced Beppo, his first poem to use the form. Shortly after this, Byron began working on his Don Juan (1819-1824), probably the best-known English poem in ottava rima. Byron also used the form for his Vision of Judgment (1822). Shelley translated the Homeric Hymns into English in ottava rima. In the 20th century, William Butler Yeats used the form in several of his best later poems, including “Sailing to Byzantium” and “Among School Children”.
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