Life// A Poem

A Literal Metaphor

Some people absolutely

Insist

That life is a

free verse piece

and sneer at the mere suggestion

That rhyme and meter

Play any kind of role

In the genre.

It flows, they say,

Not from point a to point b,

But meanders,

As a stream unchecked,

Propelled by nothing

save motion,

To a point short of

Immortality

And a purpose deemed

Whatever.

Not I.

Despite derision

And sneers

At the discipline

Of the device,

I prefer to believe-

I desperately cling to the hope that

Life is a measured series of stanzas,

A work in which I count the measured feet

And move in tandem with the proscribed beat

So ultimately patterns will-voila- appear

To dissipate the jagged lines of fear

And give direction to what seems to be

The paradox I’ve come to know as me.


This poem was “inspired” by the poets and teachers of creative writing who dismiss poems that rhyme as unworthy and/or of inferior quality. I believe that the form of a poem, just as with any piece of writing, should reflect the poem’s theme and the author’s area of expertise. I have, of course, read some rhyming poems that seem contrived; I also have read some free verse poems in which the author’s voice and word choice come through as pompous. Some of the most revered poets, (e.g. Byron, Shelley, Wordsworth, Coleridge, James Weldon Johnson, Dickinson, Frost, just to name a few) have used rhyme very effectively. Even the nonsense poems of Ogden Nash is considered by many to be unique and cleverly crafted. Poetry that is done well moves far beyond a verse form. Word choice, figurative language (alliteration, metaphor, simile, hyperbole, personification, onomatopoeia etc.), and even punctuation all play a part in a poem’s reception and success. When I taught the art of crafting a poem, I would write two personification poems (which I composed as I went along, with help from the students) on a similar theme, one poem with rhyme and one without, on the board. I then asked my students to choose a theme and write two poems , one with rhyme and one without, featuring that theme. That way, they could choose which style worked better for their chosen theme. (I gave them several days to complete the assignment, and I did not require a specific length for either poem.)

Example: Theme: “ Jealousy can destroy you.”

Free Verse Poem: Jealousy

Reaches out

With long arms

To destroy,

But

Always,

They end up reaching

Inward,

Clutching what used to be

A heart,

Now turned to stone

By the cold, green heat

It harboured.

.

Rhyming poem:

The clutches of jealousy reach to destoy,

To take from another each vestige of joy....

But soon they lie withered and wallow within,

A witness to friendship that, once, might have been.

For jealousy comes from a negative place,

The eyes of a monster set in a stone face.

It generates heat that can only come back,

Reflecting the positive forces you lack.


I also taught poetry that represented different types of poetic form, from Robert Frost’s “Stopping By Woods on a Snowing Evening,” which employs a 4-line, rhyming verse form, to e.e. cummings’ “Old Age Sticks,” a free verse piece that uses capitalization (or lack therof) and punctuation to present its theme. Always, at the conclusion of a poetry unit, I was pleasantly surprsied by my students’ receptiveness to the genre and their eagerness to read (and write) various types of poems.

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Comments 9 comments

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 5 years ago from Canada

Nicely said Patricia TL. Keep moving along on those beautifully choreographed little feet. Regards, snakeslane


PatriciaTL profile image

PatriciaTL 5 years ago from Lehigh Valley Author

Thanks, snakeslane!


Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 3 years ago from Germany

Beautiful!


PatriciaTL profile image

PatriciaTL 3 years ago from Lehigh Valley Author

Thank-you, Thelma. I think poetry is one of the most challenging (and satisfying) creative outlets.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

Hello Patricia TL,

This is an excellent piece of writing. Amazing in every aspect of writing.

I loved every word--and the lay-out was superb. I am into Abstract/Prose poetry . . . please read, "An Old Dreamers Dream," and "Goodbye Forever, Our Moonlight," on my hubs. This is Abstract/Prose. And I love your work.

Voted up and all the choices because you deserve it.

You have such a gift for writing. Just keep writing and good things are bound to happen to you.

I cordially invite you to read one or two of my hubs, and be one of my followers.

That would make my day.

I am so honored to meet you.

Sincerely,

Kenneth Avery, Hamilton, Alabama


PatriciaTL profile image

PatriciaTL 2 years ago from Lehigh Valley Author

Thank you so much for the kind and gracious comments, Kenneth. I definitely will be reading your hubs!


Kenneth Avery 2 years ago

I think I sent you this same email yesterday, but you are very welcome. I loved it very much.

I said, why don't you come on over and be one of my followers. That would really make my day.

Thank you.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 24 months ago from England

I loved your poems, and I agree with you, however they are written its how the poets mind works, there are some very famous poems that don't follow any pattern, but are outstanding!


PatriciaTL profile image

PatriciaTL 24 months ago from Lehigh Valley Author

Thanks for your comments, Nell, and for reading the poem!

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