Saying it twice

Hi everyone,

Recently a friend and I were discussing how you know when to write a poem in verse or in free verse. I said that sometimes an idea just “feels” right in one form or the other. If it feels like a lighthearted notion, it might well be phrased better in rhyme and meter than in free verse. But there are times when you really can’t know unless you try both ways.

Have you ever done that? Try an idea in both free verse and verse to see which one you like better? I think it’s a good exercise. For one thing, we learn to be flexible. And going through the effort more than once in pursuit of excellence reminds us that sometimes it’s that extra effort that makes the difference between being published or not.

I hope to add to this post in the next day or so. If I can’t find an example of what I mean in my files, I’ll try to write something new. In the meantime, what are your thoughts?

***

Okay, here’s an example. Sea Lion Bachelors appeared in one of my books, WILD COUNTRY, in 1999.

BACHELOR SEA LIONS

Bachelor sea lions
sit on the rocks
bellowing out their sorrow.

Next year,
maybe,
they’ll win the fight.

Next year,
maybe,
they’ll win a mate.

Not this year.
Not this year.

Bachelor sea lions
flop on the rocks
bellowing out their sorrow.

Here’s a verse version that I wrote last night.

SEA LION BACHELORS

Sea lion bachelors
Bellow their sorrow,
To hear them tell it
There’s no tomorrow.

Their lives are ruined,
Through lousy fate
They lost the battle
To lure a mate.

Next year, maybe,
They’ll win that miss,
Next year, maybe,
But not this.

The original poem was written in the spirit of my attraction to the natural world. This second version is more of a parody on it. Each might fit into a collection, but not the same one. I could write another verse poem on the theme and cast it in the tone of the original. But in this first effort, form seemed to dictate voice.

David

Advertisements