On Poetry

Like opera, I have come to poetry (relatively) late in life.  When I was a teenager, I didn’t “get” either of them.  When I turned over the page on my English Literature ‘O’-level, I had that sinking feeling that we adults still get sometimes when we dream that we’re sitting an exam we haven’t prepared for.  For me, however, it was reality.  I passed, thank God, thanks to a set of pass-notes (read before the exam I hasten to mention) and, I’m sure, a little bit of talent.

Then, I got it into my head that rhythm and rhyme were bad.  I think this is a fairly common misconception as I’ve seen people panned for work that seemed to have no rhyme… or reason… just random words and phrases.  Perhaps they should have just written things they’d like to read, which is what I’m doing now.

I’ve entered two poetry competitions now, won neither, but have had my work acknowledged both times.  As a novice, this is a fantastic start to my foray into poetry and I hope that my success continues!

Here is the first, a story about two fat cats (based on nobody in particular of course.  It is entitled, imaginatively, “Chester and Soli.”  My Dad might call it “A Tale of Two Kitties.”

Chester and Soli

The garden fence fell down today,
Not solely caused by wind and rain;    
With thirteen pounds of former stray,
The trellis couldn’t stand the strain.

When Chester climbs the yucca tree,
It wobbles like an old man’s knees,
And when he stands aloft I see,
His belly flapping in the breeze.

His brother hunts without remorse,
Not using sleight of hand (or paws),
For Soli, there’s another course:
Awaiting bird with open jaws.     

You may expect me now to write,
Like Blake, of tigers, burning bright,
Though I must say that of a night,
They’re more like tree sloths, sleeping tight.

Published in Animal Antics (ISBN-13: 978-1844184729), January 2008

One response to “On Poetry

    April is National Poetry Month. The 3rd Annual “Paws for Poetry” Contest Challenges Kids to Write Sonnets to Spaniels, Prose for Persian Cats.

    For more information, rules and submission guidelines, visit PawsforPoetry.org.

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