Continued from page 1
Note that: there are eight syllables in each of nine lines. There are no end rhymes but each line has an internal rhyme, though some are less obvious than others. In first line buy and tie in tied rhyme. Due to d in tied echo of rhyme is subdued or more subtle than otherwise. (Note also that there are different kinds of syllables, which we do not have space to discuss here)
Compare this poem with an alternative approach, albeit little different in length:
THE MUG-STAND On mug-stand (a)
handles once hung (b)
cups of pristine sameness (c)
beautiful and aimless (c)
in song they sung (b)
at secondhand. (a)
Mugs are still hung (d)
but different (e)
shapes and colours, chipped, cracked - (f)
and spaces from fact (f)
of life. Refluent (e)
song now sung. (d)
Now The Mug Stand has a much more complicated structure. There is no internal rhyming but end-rhymes are arranged to give sometimes stronger, sometimes more subtle echoes. The letters at end of lines (a, b, etc.) indicate those which rhyme with each other. The pattern is same in each verse so that, for example, first and last lines in both are seen to rhyme.
Notice also that syllabic length of lines vary within each verse but have same pattern for each verse (i.e. 4,4,6,6,5,4,). The end of any line should not be chosen in an arbitrary way, but should add something to overall effect.
Discipline In Writing Every poem you write should have its own form of discipline. Some people think that so-called free verse is easy to write and that one can do anything in such a poem. All this is untrue.These are ideas that contribute to a lot of bad verse.Good free verse is in many ways most difficult to write, precisely because there is no obvious discipline enjoined on writer by which poem might be made to work. Yet somehow it does have to create a desired effect. Writing to a defininte pattern or rule imposes a discipline which, with some practice, will initially help one to produce rather better verse.
If you are just starting out to write poetry, do begin with rhymed verse. But try not to make rhymes too heavy and obvious. Look for different words to create an effect rather than use first that come to mind. Try an abab or abcabc type of structure rather than aabb.
Make every effort to avoid cliches. Using them is so easy a trap to fall into simply because they are phrases we have heard so often that they just creep or spring into our mind. A good poem has to have some degree of originality. Cliches are as irratating as fleas on a dog. Combe through poem to discover any cliches - looking for phrases like Combe through! Are there any more in this paragraph?
When poem is finished, it is good practice to put it away for some weeks. Then take it out and re-read it. Be severe with yourself! Remove anything which is not right (cliches, repeats of same word, clumsy phrasing etc.) and re-work poem until you feel you can do no better.
Then submit it to some publication which uses poetry. There is little point in writing poetry purely for oneself. Don't be put off by rejections. Some editors may offer suggestions for improvement. Accept them if they seem valid. But keep submitting. Not every one will like what you have written. But you must like it.
About The Author A K Whitehead Web Site: www.christianword.co.uk Has several collections published (available on site) and over 600 individual poems in magazines and journals in various different countries. Conditions Of Use: This article may be reproduced on condition that it is unaltered and that all this information is included.