Poetry Debate

This is a continuation of the Pit’s poetry thread which has become more of a debate between Poets and free verse vs. metered/rhymed poetry.

I hold that poetry is essential to humanity. Anything that can enable us to communicate our inner thoughts without harming those around us can’t be bad. Free verse is especially powerful because if our thoughts are not bound by tradition and form why should our words be?

This is also an attempt to invite all lurking poets to share one poem. There will be no criticism unless you specifically request a critique, although I can guarantee you’ll get positive feedback without even asking. If anyone is interested in turning it into a contest. . .speak up!

Hell is Other People.

I’ll make a brief contribution. Feel free to hate it. Feel free to love it. Feel free to not care about it one whit.

Not Titled
Absence makes the heart grow fonder
or perhaps heavier
bleary-eyed and frozen
I trudge through halls and gaze at paintings
recalling what was,
screaming within for what should be
and if I could sleep for centuries
I would, but for the dreams
I sense my worth
but don’t believe it
because I can’t see it
and life is happening around me while
I binge and purge my yesterdays
and wish upon falling stars that
wishes upon falling stars came true.

“Excrement. That is what I think of J. Evans Pritchard, PhD.” --Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society

Chris’ Homepage: Domestic Bliss

Wrote all of this between the ages of 18-20.

There once was a man
From Peru, whose lim’ricks all
Looked like Haiku. He

Said with a laugh, “I
Cut them in half, the pay is
Much better for two.”
(author unknown)

You want some swell poetry, head on over to the “Burma Shave” thread in MPSIMS.


Twizzle twazzle
Twizzle twome
Time for this one to go home

(Mr. Wizard)

I wrote this poem in my hotel room while I was far away from home on a contract. It was about 20 years ago, and I resented the fact that I had to be away from my wife and infant son. I was also depressed because the job was not going well.

Softly an evening shadow falls,
Across the gray forbidding walls,
A lingering sunbeam’s soft caress,
Is teasing me with loveliness,
And suddenly the darkness falls.

And I can see beyond the gloom,
Prevailing in my little room,
Beyond the months and years that pass
To my oasis, where the grass
Is green, and flowers bloom.

The original paper that I scribbled this on has been lost long ago, and I never wrote it down until now. It’s been in my head all this time. Brings back a lot of memories.

This space for rent.

Chris, Drain & Wally: Thanks for your poems. They all have a similar fragrance of regret, which leads us to the question of why it is that moments of loss and longing are more powerful than moments of bliss?

Hell is Other People.

A long time ago, I ran into a friend I hadn’t talked to in some time. She asked me if I’d written any new poetry, my response was: “Hell, no! My life doesn’t suck enough to write anything right now!”

I think it has to do with pleasure and contentedness being busy times. When things are going well, we rarely give ourselves time out to sort our feelings into words. When things are dismal, we spent a lot of time being lethargic, rehashing all the good memories and wondering what the hell happened.

I have written a few “happy” things, mostly having to do with becoming a mother and about my son. That’s some of my best stuff, as far as I’m concerned.

“Excrement. That is what I think of J. Evans Pritchard, PhD.” --Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society

Chris’ Homepage: Domestic Bliss

I have a different reason for not being able to write happy things. For me, happiness is very difficult to put into words. It’s a feeling I don’t try to overanalyze. On the other hand, words are a perfect accompaniment to loss. They’re there to fill the holes that someone or something left behind.

Then again, a good portion of the stuff I write isn’t based on my life at all (out of the 4 poems on that link, only the villanelle was something that I’d experienced). The rest are snippets of images, conversations, or in one case, the way I imagined things might have been had they run their course. I do write things about my life on rare occasions, but they never see the light of day.

Thank you for the invitation. The following was written in refutation of a poetry student’s claim that iambic pentameter was such a difficult form that it necessarily detracted from her ability to write a poem at all. As such, I considered this poem to be more of a parlor trick than anything else. But it’s nice to be offered a place to share it.

Pockmarked, scarred, a cosmic sitting duck
for any meteor that passes by.
That ball of rock and dust we call the moon
(they used to think that it was all green cheese)
is just another area we’ve mapped
(first with a telescope, and then by car).
It’s littered now with footprints, golf balls, junk
Apollo’s riders left when they were here,
raping Diana, stealing –- what?-- some stones
(Just so that they could say they’d touched her face),
Leaving behind an empty jar of TANG.
Here. Don’t say I never gave you nothing.

It used to be a she, and then a he
(the fellow who adorns a box of TIDE).
The one-time goddess of the hunt, the chase
was fin’ly caught, unmasked, revealed as just
a mirror, just a simple shiny ball
that somehow does a magic trick with tides.
It makes the oceans slosh four times a day
(twice high, twice low). They‘ve even figured out
how come we only ever see one side.
Difficult to look at an object as a totem,
a talisman, when all the mystery has been taken away.

Somewhere out there, some light-years away
the little green guys train their Hubble-scope
(that cost so much to build, and then to fix)
upon a ball of fire in their night
that’s on the outer spiral arm of Frank
(I think that’s what they call the Milky Way).
They see a perturbation in its path
and shout “Hooray! We finally have some proof
That other stars have planets too, like ours!”
And later, when their space-borne eyes improve
They’ll see the orbit of our little Earth
and notice there’s a wobble in that, too.
From that they will deduce we have a moon.
But how good will that eyesight have to get
for them to ever know that men looked up
and some among them once saw cheese and gods
and mermaid’s breast and shiny silver coin?
Probably some of their poets will figure it out right away.

I, too, find it difficult to write “happy” poetry - it is natural to desire nothing but to wallow in the happiness. But when that rare moment arrives that transcends reality, it is impossible to hold back the words. And impossible to forget once said.

Hell is Other People.

Felus Catus is your taxonomic nomenclature,
An endothermic quadruped, carnivorous by nature.

– Lieutennant Commander Data

Thank you for your so very happy poetry, tracer! It brightens up my miserable life like a big smile and a dog in red galoshes.

I am trying to decide which I like more - the cat poem or the haiku. I can’t decide so I’ll love them both more!

Have you more to share?

Hell is Other People.


White Wolf

“Death is the only inescapable, unavoidable, sure thing. We are sentenced to die the day we’re born.” -Gary Mark Gilmore

Kaylasdad99 WOW!!!

Just tonight from my pen:

Alone at night,
only my thoughts for friends,
wishing on a star,
that ne’er shines,
awash in pain,
feeling the angst,
that runs,
like a freight train through my mind.

Thinking of others,
who lost their precious selves,
by clinging to the pride,
their separateness,
their false hope,
to stave off the pain that only ego brings,
existing in a shell of defense mechanisms,
which is all that is left of their being.

I cannot touch them,
thier is no one to touch,
their is no one to feel anymore,
just a writhing sorrow,
from looking inward too long,
their soul is asleep,
thier mind has slipped into the abyss,
where non-existence keeps it’s silent vigil.

A tomb for the non-persons,
who traded their birth right,
for a pot of stench,
that grows more fetid,
every passing picosecond,
all that is left,
of love turned inward,
all that is left,
is a hole in time.

Phaedrus 11/9/99

That which a man had rather were true he more readily believes.

I line with Tracer’s post (I forget the author, but it’s not I):

Scintillate, scintillate, globule vivific;
Fain would I fathom thy nature specific.
Distantly poised in the ether capacious
Closely resembling a gem carbonaceous.

Personally I have difficulty when using poetry forms other than iambic pentameter.

That form just seems to fit well. Otherwise, my writing quickly looses its point. But then again, I’m a computer geek, so maybe that’s why I need the structure.

Anyway, it’s weird knowing that others feel opposite: that iambic pentameter hampers their creative windpipe.

Allow me to try to provoke a bit of controversy here. I would contend that old Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was vastly underrated for the majority of the 20th Century, and that he is the past master of many of the classic formats (trochaic tetrameter in Hiawatha, dactylic hexameter in Evangeline, for two examples) that outside his work sound stilted in English, but which he made flow naturally. What say ye?

heh heh heh heh

He said Longfellow. :o

*Tell me not in mournful numbers
Life is but an empty dream
For the Soul is dead that slumbers
And things are not as they seem.

Life is real, life is earnest
And the grave is not its goal
Dust thou art, to dust returnest
Was not written of the soul.*