Poetry Composition 1

Start with a first line
as glorious as
something out of
Dickens. In fact,
perhaps it is.  Who
would be the wiser?
Has anyone
the leisure to leaf
through “Hard Times,”
The body of the poem should be arcane,
whatever that might mean.
I find that lots of foreign phrases,
some Canto this and Canto that
to tell them Ezra Pound is near,
and lots of similes and metaphors—
the clouds, the sun, the sea
are nice and have such
fine collective meaning.
Use rhyme a time
or two,
so scholars swear
your verses sing.
Sonnets, Quaterns
Rondels and the like
are best left to those
both highly skilled
and long-departed.
You’ll need a twist
by stanza three,
to keep your reader’s
head above the paper.
Perhaps a bit of plot,
or better yet
some sexual innuendo
or peccadillo, for that matter,
will get Joe Blow to plow
through your awful mess
even if you’ve
penned it in pig Latin.
Near the end,
think family.
A little dementia
is fine-- I find the
early onset best.
Through your thesaurus
find fresh phrases for
twisted, tortuous
and the like,
even if your mom and dad,
like mine, could never do
enough for you—and seem
to be still helping from the grave.
Remember, “near tears but no tears,”
as poems that make you sob
are merely doggerel
and end up in
the Sunday supplement
surrounded by
limericks and
drawings of a daisy,
by Chris—age six.
The ending must tie
the first line to the body
through the title.
Or the body through
the title to the ending.
Got it?
How could you?
Be cleverish here,
so that your reader,
in overcoming
his bewilderment,
can feel quite clever too.
Remember to leave
the learned room
to grasp for meaning—
hint: put common “words”
in quotes to feed
the meaning’s frenzy.
Think happy thoughts
and write glumly.
And now,
let us begin.


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