To celebrate National Poetry Day, I thought I would share some thoughts about a couple of very different poems I wrote but that are actually on the same topic – writing poetry.
Why are the poems in question so different? Well, one is very structured with a very strict rhyme and syllable structure and the other is quite the opposite and doesn’t follow any ‘rules’. So, let’s dive straight in and enjoy playing with words this National Poetry Day.
It’s time to proclaim with words that sound the same
Some people hate poems that rhyme, while others find it very difficult to be creative without rhyming. Personally, I love a bit of rhyme and I love the challenge and discipline of creating something interesting with sound-alikes. Poetically Incorrect, is an example of a poem that I had a lot of fun with and it was something I really had to work with. It was a bit like construction – I had to think through the various stages in order to come up with something that made sense throughout and followed a theme.
Getting it made & tools of the trade
If I’m writing a poem with a lot of structure and rhyme, I like to put the foundation in place first. I’m a bit old school (or perhaps just a bit old) and like to use a pen and paper to begin with. I find lined paper works best because I can jot notes such as rhyme scheme and syllable counts in the margins. How many lines per stanza? How many stanzas? I can set all this up on the sides of the page as my guide.
So, Poetically Incorrect has 3 stanzas of 9 lines each. Nothing remarkable there. However, the syllable count is very strict (I believe this sort of structure is known as a ‘lai’ poem) and goes as follows: 5,5,2,5,5,2,5,5,2. That’s quite a challenge by itself but now add the rhyme scheme on top and there’s a lot to think about in the planning process. There are only 2 main rhymes per stanza but the twist is that you need 6 words for one and 3 for the other. The 6 in particular is quite a lot to find.
If you’re a rhyming wizard then you may need no further tools but your imagination. As I mentioned earlier, I love to rhyme but there’s probably no way I could crack a poem like this without my trusty rhyming dictionary – it’s so helpful when you might be struggling and fighting for that last, elusive rhyme. One last thing to say here is that if you can’t find enough sensible words that sound the same to complete your poem, you may have to re-think the whole theme of your piece.
Anyway, that was the science bit (mine at least), here’s how the poem itself turned out.
A clever design,
with words that will shine
Why care if I rhyme,
every other line,
Will you whinge and whine
as beats I combine,
You stick up your nose,
exclaim “it’s not prose”
No rules to impose
so why can’t I pose
The quill is my rose,
my joy and my throes,
Consonants will blend
as vowels transcend
all verbs are my friend,
No need to amend
the voice I have penned,
They can take our rhymes…but they’ll never take our freedom!
The next poem is also about the act of creating something whole from a just bunch of words. I called this one Waltz because as I wrote it I imagined the pen and the paper working together in perfect harmony to create something beautiful. Whether I was successful or not is entirely up to the reader. There are only 2 very subtle rhymes in here and even they were perhaps unintentional.
When stanzas rebel
With Poetically Incorrect we saw a poem with stanzas that had to be created with military precision. Not only a set number of lines but also a set number of syllables. Waltz is a whole different word game. Although in the world of dance, the waltz has plenty of structure there is also an element of gliding and sliding which I have tried to capture in this poem but without the constraints of any set stanzas. You will see there are stanzas of different lengths and even some one line stanzas. Not everyone will be a fan of these but when it’s your poem, your words, you can essentially do what you like!
It’s adventure time!
Not only can you have fun putting words and verses wherever you want but being set free from all constraints, you can take your poem anywhere you wish. Let your imagination run wild and go with the flow. You can climb mountains or travel to the moon and back. You can be the hero or the villain. You can think in black and white or splash vivid colours throughout.
High seas adventure
sands of time.
with that magic
Fairy dust making.
Clip and Polish.
So, that’s it really – 2 very different poems about writing poetry. I hope you enjoyed the journey and perhaps you now feel inspired or encouraged to write something for yourself. You can check out some of other poems here and find out more about my poetry writing service. Happy National Poetry Day!