7 days - 7 poems - Day 4

Before I even begin, how about that blue? The one on the left. Has it changed recently? I dunno. It's been so long since I've bought 2% (and I didn't buy this, just found it in the fridge) but when I saw it the blue felt darker and richer than I remember it. I need to get some 1% and homo milk. I'm pretty sure 1% is stripy and homo is a nice red. Oh! And maybe some chocolate brown too. I need to get them, not to drink or anything, just for a photo shoot.

If I have any extra "milk" money (HAHAHAHA!) lying around, that's what I'll do.

But you are here for the poetry, right?

A thought on yesterday's haiku. Here's a brief one I wrote today:

Spring in the air,
on the ground my feet

It has something to do with nature! But I am still not clear on a lot of what's going on. By dropping the more strict 5-7-5 structure are there any really big defining characteristics that separate an English haiku from a three line bit of free verse about nature? I don't know. And I guess it doesn't really matter. If I want a structured haiku about nature that I want to call a haiku, I can do that. If I have a less structured poem about a plastic hat I found on a bus and I want to call it a haiku, well I guess I can do that too. Until poetocracy emerges as a form of government I should be reasonably safe.

On the bus of dis-
contented fury
the plastic hat screams.

Haiku! See...no one has touched me.

Okay. Today we have a sonnet.

The model I followed was the Shakespearean one, which has a rhyming structure that is meant to go: a-b-a-b c-d-c-d e-f-e-f g-g.

So far so good.

It is also, however, meant to include an iambic pentameter. Now, for the uninitiated, as I kinda was until yesterday, this is an unemphasized syllable followed by an emphasized one, then that unit is repeated five times per line. Ten syllables with an undulating cadence, one (me) might say.

I'm still not totally clear on what that means though. I read the example Shakespearean sonnet provided and when I listen intently for those emphases as I read, everything sounds kind of batty. And when I look for them in my poem, well then stuff really starts falling off walls. But I am fairly close to ten syllables per line, so I have that (to my understanding a little variance from ten isn't the end of the world).

One last thing before the big show; there is a reason people like free verse. It is soooooo much easier. Not that it is easy, mind you, but without structure to concern you it's basically all about the words.

Working on the haiku et al. yesterday was fun. Making lines work based on the light and easy structure of 5-7-5, or whatever, is basically a word puzzle. Once you get your meaning across in the allowable pattern you feel clever. Today's work, while having similar puzzling moments, added more difficultly through the increased complexity of rhyming and structure. And now that I am wondering whether or not my pentameter succeeded, the notion of sonnet writing (or being a sonneteer!) seems a much more daunting proposition.

Free verse is great and provides some fabulous poetry, but much props are to be given to the structured poets of yore (and today).

In the meantime, I won't be too hard on myself over iambic anything until someone who really knows their poetry can tell me what it's meant to look and sound like. Maybe (MAYBE!) I got it perfect on my first try?

The essay writing business

My dear tattered sheet of paper and tape
Cling fast upon your cold, grey campus pole.
Offer essays of ease, experts who shape
Words onto paper and then honour roll.

I'm not in school and don't need 'ssistance,
Instead there's a thought of skulduggerous work:
The assignment 'rrives, a thesis on France
I don't know Gaul, therefore search out some jerk.

Play person off person, shift papers 'round,
It's all 'bout shuffling the trail out of sight,
Write not a thing, while your bosses, astound!
And remember to pay less cash than you swipe.

A nice tidy plan to make some money.
Drops in the bucket, what's one more Ponzi?

Okay! I guess that's okay for a first try. The first quatrain is the best I feel. The example on Wikipedia also seems to have each quatrain as a more thorough whole without distinct sentences, so that might have helped make for a smoother read.

The need for dual rhyming in each quatrain makes the writing experience interesting. You write the first line constrained only by what overall message the poem is meant to have, then the second, third and fourth lines are a bit up in the air. You have to consider rhyming possibilities for all three lines simultaneously as well as the message arc. It's all about jotting and crossing out (at least it was for me).

Sonnet, out!

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