Origins of the Poet

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
There are only so many things that can rhyme with blue.

I wasn’t into poems when I was younger,
My prose always sounded bumbling and sub-par.
I could do the acrostic stuff,
Where you have a word going down the side of the page, and write stuff after each letter.
For me, that was enough.
If I tried to make my poems rhyme properly, well,
It really came out awkwardly.

Take this        get-well-soon card I wrote     for my Dad        when I was seven:

I’m sorry you’re sick.
You can lick-           it!
I’m sorry you puked.
At least you didn’t do it on the duke.
I’m sorry you had to vomit.
Last night, I saw a comet.

You get the picture.
But don’t worry, the story gets richer!

I learned about haiku,
an ancient japanese form of prose.
It was really simple! It goes:

5 syllables first,
Then 7 the second, and
5, young grasshopper.

Haiku was my medium,                      For a while anyways.
All those sonnets and limericks and their tedium,
They had such rigid, complicated structure,
you get the picture.
Why do you have to write like that?

And now I would like to tip my hat
to the teacher that
taught me about free verse.

Curses, I don’t remember who.

But once I discovered this strange, fluid form,
I was home free.
Free, baby, free!
Poetry needn’t be simile and metaphor and parallelism,
The key lay in the rhythm, the flow, and the thought,
Allegories and symbolism             went out the window!
I produced prose like an industrial beast,
The ink flew from my pen,
and my journal           feasted!
All I needed now was a muse…

A muse, a muse, a MUSE to amuse my brain,
and set the gears in motion…
For instance:

This day, I wake early
Early enough to taste the dew.
I sneak through the tall white door
And choke.
I run, pitter patter feet against stone
The world is empty                     Except for the mist
A blanket covers my head
Tiny droplets touch my lungs
I feel the chill against my small ones
And aimlessly wander
Searching for security.
Ahead,                                        a light!
A single orb, my savior
I run to a pine post                    A single flame atop
I shiver, blind in the thick whiteness.
Clouds press in around me                  Strangling me.
I go home
And snuggle in my bed
The white fear                            Claws at my windows
But I am warm               And safe                        And I dream
And smile.

Memories from a foggy day, when I was yea high.
Not much taller now, am I?

Poetry needn’t have rhyme or reason,
Couplets or stanzas or “Shall I compare thee to a season?”
The rhyme slips itself in,
When you least expect it.
This is where it begins:

Criss-cross, up-down
Left and right, swirls ‘round
Rough scratches on paper
Sharp curves and soft angles
Weave back and forth
And spin ‘round
Woven basket, braided straw
Rough corn shaped lovingly to a doll
Wood whittled, iron molten
Brushes dripping, and bows a waving
Chicken scratches on a sheet
Shape a piece, you must meet
Crumpled and thrown away,
And start again, every day, every day.
A craft that spins, a task that bends
Art shaping quickly in your hands.
Your work is done, it’s time to rest
Put your tools away, you project secure
And finally lay your head after many sleepless nights.

If you want to improve your craft,
It requires emulation,
Deep study and consideration,
Practice in presentation.

I’ve found there is no better way to study,
Than to dutifully study the masters.
Emily Dickinson,        Edgar Allen Poe,        Byron,   Keats,   and Shelly,
Seuss,              Emerson,                 and Willy Shakespeare.
Though, I do have a soft spot for Shel Silverstein.
He has a childlike quality,
A gift for narrating the simple.
I enjoy his work, and would readily recommend his literature.

For example:

The worm squirms.
It inches with precision-
Up-             down-               perfect form.
It is a split decision-            up and down-                  but a sound one.
It avoids a line of collision with a twig,
A motion of left swig,                            right swerve,
and opts to instead dig in the dirt.
Little worm! Digging In the dirt!
It wriggles its little tail-
or is it a head?                                                And flails down the hole.
Bye bye!

I love poetry; it is my outlet.
It’s a gift I’ve developed,
I’ve developed quite the outfit,
if I do say so myself.

With prose, you can construct deeper thoughts,
Put your dreams to a rhythm,
And                 some day,
develop a style,
and your own secret sauce.

Like this.


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