Answering Our Poets in Your Own Verse

Poor Lumbricus Terrestris (earthworms) They are great friends!

Not so pretty, but many of us will have them for company for a long time!
Not so pretty, but many of us will have them for company for a long time!

Poetry is a marvellous art form to play with

Answering Our Poets in Your Own Verse.

Although a lot of it is crude in that it obeys the internal rhythms and forces of the author, rather than any traditional meter or form, we are lucky to have many aspiring - or established - poets publishing their work on HP.

Much poetry, ever since the days of Gilgamesh, is a vehicle carrying the emotions of the composer: euphoria, misery, philosophical insight, humor and all the rest. Poetry, indeed, predated other writing and can be found more than 5,000 years ago as early man attempted to communicate his feelings to the small tribe he lived in.

Poetry can be quite a maze for the reader as well as he/she attempts to root out the hidden meanings; often very obscure. We also ride along enjoying any of the devices the author has used, such as assonance, alliteration, onomatopoeia and rhythm in order to make her perhaps prosaic message into an art form. (Onomatopoeia is the study of arranging the letters in a word, sound like its "sound." i.e., cuckoo).

All these devices come under the loose heading of Prosody - the mechanics of verse: meter, rhythm and intonation, etc.

Memorable poetry has been written by poets who have never studied the art, in fact, most of the great works paved the way for legions of imitators who eventually found their own ’voice.

One reason for poets from the past not to have studied available information on their hobby, or even life dedication, is there was no available information. The man on the street only possessed rudimentary reading and writing skills; most published work was only available to accredited scholars and the clergy: they, in fact, wrote most of it before the eighteenth century.

But today there is no need to blindly burst into poetic song. Libraries and the Internet carry just about every poem of any note at all ever written. Just typing the first line or the author’s name into Google (etc.) will usually reward with hundreds of hits.

Please excuse the long-winded intro into the specifics of what I originally set out to say today. It is that one of the most fun ways to read poetry and have a go yourself immediately afterwards is to "answer" the poet, who, although often long dead, has left his work behind to be enjoyed and criticized and could hardly object even if granted a furlough from Heaven or, in the case of many poets I suspect, the other place.

Here is one such I wrote in humorous reply to one of Robert Frost’s great poems. First, the original:

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Such a simple poem, isn’t it? Yet it is one of the most read in the English language and the most revered, too

I thought. Mmmm: that’s fine for the poet all muffled up; protected from the weather, but what about the poor old dray horse, I bet he is thinking of his warm stable and could give a fig for Frost’s dark reflections, as Frost had mentioned. So:

A ‘Frosty reply to Bob

Why does he stop and ponder here?

There is no house nor warm place near.

Why are we standing in the snow?

Can’t he feel it; doesn’t he know?

I must confess I think it’s rare,

For him to stop thus, just to stare.

These icy draughts; that frozen lake,

I’m like a dray mare at a wake!

I think I’ll try to let him see

How my poor hooves are killing me:

Stamp and shake the harness bell,

To let him know that all’s not well.

You think he finds it pretty here?

Not for me; it’s cold and drear.

And miles to go before I eat.

And miles to go before I eat.


It’s a shame Frost passed on before I wrote this (he died in 1963), I think he might have enjoyed it.

Not to be intimidated by a heavyweight, I then considered one of Shakespeare’s sonnets in which he was saying nasty things about earthworms ("vile worms"). Like Charles Darwin, I am a fan of the humble earthworm living its simple life beneath the soil, which it unceasingly tills and circulates. A service without which man might not be able to exist.

Sonnet LXX1 (an excerpt)


"No longer mourn for me when I am dead

Than you shall hear the surly sullen bell
Give warning to the world that I am fled

From this vile world with vilest worms to dwell:

Up with the quill: off to give the Bard a bashing!

A Worm’s Eye View.

Worms are noble, clean and fine;

Christian-like, they toe the line,

Making good the things men spoil:

Who did you think restores the soil?

Not like man, his duty shirking,

Worms are constant; always working.

Worms are humble, pleasant folk;

To say they’re vile is some cruel joke.

So remember Shakespeare, King of Words,

Instead of merely lauding birds.

Unless you want your coffin spurned,

You’ll find, dear Will, the worm has turned!

(Shakespeare used the phrase "The worm has turned" in Henry 6th., although he didn’t invent it).

I have quite a few more of these for a future article (Oh, no!…I heard that!)

Some of you aspiring wordsmiths might have a poem by one of the masters you think might be worth a reply. You can use their meter (as I did in Frosty Reply), or one of your own, as I did in the worm poem.

Happy con-versing!

All work herein is copyright. The "replies" are from ‘Charged Particles’ by Robert Challen de Mercer….

Thank you


PS Sorry the download was so chaotic. HP format doesn't handle poetry well..








More by this Author


Comments 27 comments

Christopher Dapo profile image

Christopher Dapo 5 years ago from Havelock, NC

Interesting hub. Good poems, too! :D


diogenes profile image

diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

Thanks for visit, Chris...Bob


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 5 years ago from South Africa

Answering poems will surely become mighty philosophical rhetoric. Thanks, now I know what to do when I don’t have a topic to hub.


diogenes profile image

diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

Don't understand your comment, Martie...is it a bit mean, or have I misinterpreted? Philosophical rhetoric...sounds like an oxymoron...Bob


BobbiRant profile image

BobbiRant 5 years ago from New York

I love Robert Frost, so obsessed with death he was. Many people thought he was a chubby poet writing almost whimsical stuff when a lot of it was about death. Great hub.


diogenes profile image

diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

Yes. His fascination with suicide is obvious in Stopping in Woods... But he was such a wonderful nature poet, I loved him...Bob


cathylynn99 profile image

cathylynn99 5 years ago from northeastern US

brilliant, bob, and nice to hear from you, who is only 1 away from 100.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Poetry is so much fun and very satisfying like playing a good game of Scrabble.


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 5 years ago

Poetry is not for everyone

Though not everyone is

for poetry.

Very enjoyable read and I loved how you created your own piece in tribute to such a fine poet like Frost. May he RIP and be looking down smiling on your creativity.


diogenes profile image

diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

Hi Cathylynn Yeah, in years, too!!

Hi Austinstar: Yes, poetry IS fun

saddlerider. Yes, Frost was a great poet who had a long life, even if he did cast doubts on it

Bob


sonia05 profile image

sonia05 5 years ago from india

lovely and hilarious poems with a really interesting account of poetry and poets. You are a great poet yourself,I wish I had read your poem as a sequel to Robert Frost's poem 'Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening'! We had his poem in our course in English.

awesome hub! voted up!


writeronline 5 years ago

This is great, Bob. A very inventive way of teaching the untrained among us (that’s me, for sure) more about poetry.

Inspired by your idea, I looked at Shakespeare’s Sonnet Number 18, chose a stanza (terminology?), which I interpret as his tribute to the eternal quality of beauty (though I may be wrong..), and answered it with my own alternative, which assumes that Death has in fact unexpectedly intruded..

From Bill’s Sonnet 18:

.

Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,

When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st:

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

.

My post-mortem ‘answer’, which challenges Bill’s ‘vile’ assertion about the worm, instead showing its essential role in the eternal cycle of life:

.

Though Death shall brag thou lay’st in the Earth,

Thy eternal lines to time are unconstrain’d:

As the worm doth turn, and turn again inside thee,

To loosen fleshly bonds, and set thee free.

.

Dunno why I’m sending you this, but having written it, I guess I may as well. Proof of the power of your piece, perhaps? (And alliteration, also?) :)

Anyway, Up and Awesome from me.


diogenes profile image

diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

Hi Sonia: Thanks for kind remarks. Frost's poem seems to be a standard in US schools, and many here, too.


QudsiaP1 profile image

QudsiaP1 5 years ago

It is indeed though isn't it? How sometimes you may have never studied an art or even been aware of the talent you possess and then there comes along a day when people tell you that the mindless chatter/scribblings you wrote for your soul means something to them as well.

Hence began the want to study and mimic; rinse and repeat.

Wonderfully written.


diogenes profile image

diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

Thanks dear. I have been missing your posts lately due to computer. I like your new picture...Bob


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 5 years ago from South Africa

Hi diogenes

No, I was not at all mean. Was just thinking of all the unique interpretations and the tendency of people to disagree. Many poets and writers I know are amazed when they hear what people read in their writings. I love your hubs and thoughts. I'm always in agreement with you :)))


Rebecca E. profile image

Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

As always you leave me wanting to improve my mind-- great set of poems... now (grr!=)) I'll have to read more... but this is a good thing... you've become a good influence for me.


diogenes profile image

diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

What a nice thing to say, Rebecca...hope I am a good influence! Bob


diogenes profile image

diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

Sorry, Martie: my bad. I misunderstood your comment...Luv ya! Bob


writeronline 5 years ago

Hope you didn't misunderstand mine, Bob! It's a bit convoluted, granted. But I was inspired to have a go at what you'd shown us. Hope it can't be misconstrued as having a go at you... ?

Cheers


diogenes profile image

diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

Hi WOL: My answer to your comment didn't get posted somehow. I said i was so impressed by your answer to the Bard. And, no, not for a minute did I misconstrue your comment...i was a bit envious is all!! Bob


writeronline 5 years ago

Well, that's OK then. And thanks for the compliment! No way you should be envious either, I was only following your lead. Cheers :)


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

It is handled well, Diogenes. Very meaningful and expressive.


diogenes profile image

diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

Cheers, Nellianna. It was a bit of a fill in hub as have slackened off lately Bob


louis rams profile image

louis rams 5 years ago from florida

my compliments to you, and an honor to see your writings.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

Hello, Bob, and thank you for ineresting hub. I always admire people who can do this. I think it is such a wonderful gift.


diogenes profile image

diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

lois rams: Thanks for visit and warming remark Bob

HH How are you? Writing half way decent poetry or prose is a gift in a way, but also depends very much on reading and living...Bob

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working