You know I love you. I do. I know that my style of poetry is not your thing, and I understand that you are more comfortable with old school rhyme and meter. But please understand that when you say that you don’t get what I write and that you want me to write a beautiful poem that rhymes… well, imagine telling the lead singer of Poison that you don’t get this rose and thorn thing, no, you want him to write you a rap. You want a gansta’ rap and you want cop killing and vaginas in it. Well, that’s the closest I can come to illustrating how it feels for me when you ask me to write a pretty poem that rhymes. It’s not what I do; it’s not my style and it puts me a little out of my element, and perhaps makes me feel a bit defensive of the work I do.
I play with rhyme and slant rhyme a lot, but rarely at the end of lines, and rarely in a traditionally metered way. It feels a little odd to me, like speaking with someone else’s accent, or imitating a voice that isn’t mine. And since I haven’t written that style of poem in more than twenty years, when I do it always seems to lend itself to comedy for me. There is something nursery rhyme-ish that happens when I attempt it.
Having said that, I want to thank you for pushing me to not get so set in my ways, or to be so in love with my own style that I forget my roots, and how to write as English poets have done in days past. There are some extremely good writers in modern poetry who can still do it, and make it sound natural. And while I prefer to play with sounds within and between lines, and highlight other elements of language, including double meanings and metaphor, I will sincerely try to create something more serious in a traditional rhymed and metered form. It’s a good thing to remember one’s roots from time to time.
But for now, since I am playing catch-up in the Poem-a-Day Challenge, here are two examples of light verse to fill the requirements for days 10 and 11. I hope you at least appreciate the effort, even though I think sometimes rhyme of this sort often substitutes cleverness for substance.
Playing Catch up: Napowrimo poem for day 11: Refusal Only two things in this life are certain. That is what they say. But despite how my body is hurtin’, I’ll pay only the tax man today. Napowrimo poem for day 10: Routine Breakdown I put cat food in the toaster and poured coffee on my plate. I dozed off in the shower, and now I’m running late. I cannot find my car keys; seems there’s cotton in my head. I put cat food in the toaster, so I’m going back to bed.
Again, dear Jaime, thank you for the challenge. Flexing my poetic muscles is part of what challenges like this are all about, and I believe my writing may truly benefit from your request.
With Love and Metrics,