I Wish to Write Better Poetry

Per­son­al­ly I have always con­sid­ered poet­ry to be the high­est form of writ­ing as it brings many great ele­ments of the art of writ­ing togeth­er, it can twist music and words togeth­er into a com­mon bond and at the same time paint a pic­ture that goes far beyond words alone. The rela­tion­ship between bear and bare is some­thing we all under­stand yet when used appro­pri­ate­ly can aid the rhyth­mic effect of a poem, when used clev­er­ly can intro­duce humour, hap­pi­ness, sad­ness, and many oth­er emo­tions. Poet­ry pro­vides a whole world of intrigue and whether por­tray­ing fact or fic­tion sets off much thought, yet can be very effec­tive at telling the sto­ry and to my mind it tells an effec­tive sto­ry with opti­mal use of words.

When it comes to poet­ry I am a lover of old or tra­di­tion­al style works and feel that for a poem to pro­vide the best results it should have rhyming lines, clever word usage,  and break down into vers­es. I know there are oth­er (more mod­ern) styles. I remem­ber writ­ing poet­ry at school, but have no copies from that era, yet a long time ago in my ear­ly twen­ties I penned one, which is repeat­ed here, unchanged:
.

I see lovers in the park
As I go wan­der­ing by.
They’re all arm in arm
And they make me think of mine,
But she’s so far away.

.

They are kiss­ing in the dark,
Some things we enjoy
And how I miss your arms,
Hug­ging me close and tight.
Oh if she were here.

.

There’s romance in the air
And I just walk on by,
Wish­ing for your kisses,
So this fear in me can go away
Then we can kiss again.

.

There were oth­er vers­es for this piece but they have been lost over time, this was dis­cov­ered with some of my old­er man­u­scripts and start­ed me think­ing about poet­ry once again. I con­sid­er this form of writ­ing to be among the high­est used and it can be tough to live up to the stan­dards of the real mas­ters of the art and how to learn to imi­tate their style. One of my favourites starts as follows:
.

Tyger Tyger, burn­ing bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immor­tal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fear­ful symmetry?

.
This is the open­ing from “The Tyger” by William Blake and I like the way line 2 reflects line 1 and line 4 reflects line 3, pro­vid­ed the word sym­me­try is delib­er­ate­ly miss-pro­nounced to make the “try” seg­ment of the word sound like “eye,” one of the ways the writer uses poet­ic licence to play with sounds. I also believe it appro­pri­ate that the word sym­me­try is used because poems are in many ways sym­met­ri­cal in nature, giv­ing some­thing and reflect­ing at the same time. Anoth­er poem I recall is by William Wordsworth:

.

I WANDERED lone­ly as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of gold­en daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Flut­ter­ing and danc­ing in the breeze.

.
For me this poem paints a pic­ture in the mind that is a view of nature, the sky, hills and val­leys, the nat­ur­al life impact­ed by the wind, close your eyes when lis­ten­ing and you can see the land­scapes unfold in front of you, who would think of a cloud as being lone­ly? Cer­tain­ly more of the skills I would like to acquire in order to become a more com­plete writer, this abil­i­ty to paint through words is very pow­er­ful. Walt Whit­man, on the oth­er hand, wit­nessed the full fury of the Amer­i­can Civ­il War see­ing bat­tles and see­ing the con­di­tions in the hospitals.

How Solemn As One by One
(Wash­ing­ton City, 1865.)
.

HOW solemn as one by one,
As the ranks return­ing worn and sweaty, as the men file by where stand,
As the faces the masks appear, as I glance at the faces study­ing the masks,
(As I glance upward out of this page study­ing you, dear friend, who­ev­er you are,)
How solemn the thought of my whis­per­ing soul to each in the ranks, and to you,
I see behind each mask that won­der a kin­dred soul,
O the bul­let could nev­er kill what you real­ly are, dear friend,
Nor the bay­o­net stab what you real­ly are;
The soul! your­self I see, great as any, good as the best,
Wait­ing secure and con­tent, which the bul­let could nev­er kill,
Nor the bay­o­net stab, O friend.

.

This poem is much dark­er than oth­er ones I have high­light­ed but truth is life is both hap­py and sad, clean and dirty, light and dark, often at the same time or one jux­ta­posed against the oth­er. The real­i­ty is that poet­ry cov­ers all aspects of life and needs to reflect real­i­ty, the worst of times as well as the best. Whit­man also writes in a dif­fer­ent style to the oth­er poets that I men­tioned, rhyming isn’t his imme­di­ate pri­or­i­ty, but he cer­tain­ly uses words very well.

Which brings me to a por­tion of my sec­ond poem, writ­ten a few years ago, the whole work is avail­able by fol­low­ing the link, but I include the first few verses:

.

Some­where out there; Where was that Wrong turn?
.
1 — Lost Paradise

.

It is sad to admit,
some­how things went off track,
what hap­pened to the path of greatness?
Just now it seems so far away

.

Must we real­ly convict?
He needs some time on the rack,
See­ing through all roots for weaknesses
And sad­ly it seems here to stay

.

Once was we now restrict
the alley of dark­ness comes back,
For all to share, is this the meekness
From which we all hide away?

.

How to get right past it?
The obsta­cle sim­ply stares right back.
Chal­lenged to the core, this madness?
All we need — to run away

.
In this case I was try­ing to explore the dark­er reach­es of the mind or soul, sour and harsh moods, but of course I could not expe­ri­ence the same war scenes as Walt Whit­man did and sim­ply had my own expe­ri­ences or imag­i­na­tion to draw upon. When it comes to poet­ry I admit that I’m still learn­ing, which brings me to some­thing I’m cur­rent­ly work­ing on which I have called “Tick to Noth­ing”:

.

Tick, then nothing,
Tock, much more nothing.
Time goes slow­ly by
What hap­pened? The clock has
Stopped or something.

.

Tick, more nothing,
Tock.What is happening
to time? My oh my.
It shud­dered. Who the heck cares?
Bored and needing.

.

Lick it! Get Moving.”
“Make it get going.”
I’m caught, my oh my
“Day dream­ing.” He mut­tered, aware’s.

.
The aim being to describe those moments when time seems to stand still. This has far to go, being very much a work in progress, even the last line of the third verse is yet to appear in my mind.

I would love to hear from both read­ers and writ­ers what they feel about my poet­ry and per­haps com­ment about what dri­ves them in poet­ic terms.

 

 

Buy Peter B. Giblett a cof­fee as a thank you for con­tribut­ing his thoughts on poetry.

 

 

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2 Replies to “I Wish to Write Better Poetry”

  1. […] anoth­er arti­cle I talked about words and how they sound as being a cru­cial part of build­ing great poems, it is phe­nom­e­nal that we have access to so many tools to build any­thing we write. Glob­al Language […]

  2. […] anoth­er arti­cle I talked about words and how they sound as being a cru­cial part of build­ing great poems, it is phe­nom­e­nal that we have access to so many tools to build any­thing we write. Glob­al Language […]

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