A Doggerel on Metric Poetry

The flaw in metric poetry
that you and I too often see,
is absence of a counterpoint
which throws a poem out of joint.

The counterpoint is useful as a tool
that oft, outside a given rule,
allows for tweaking any line
and turns words into ‘stuff’ divine.

Iambics must not always end
on stronger beats, but they should blend;
inflection may be strong or weak,
but all should sound as one would speak.

Avoid abruptness in your verse;
short lines will make a poem terse
and lack the pleasing ding-dong chime
that adds much to a well-done rhyme.

Trochees and Iambs may be mixed,
instead of always being fixed;
and pyrrhic, spondee feet work fine
along with an Iambic line.

However: after what I’ve said,
please keep in mind, when all is read,
the dominant foot remains in view;
and that’s the word from me to you.

Jerry Kemp

Jerry has written and published two books: A Bouquet of Poetic Thoughts II and Galloping Pegasus, four humorous novellas.  Retired from his horse ranch and other activities, Jerry lives with his wife, two dogs, two cats, and numerous birds at the outskirts of the Sonoran desert in Arizona.  Celebrating his 82nd birthday in October 2016, ignoring the onset of Parkinson’s symptoms, Jerry continues on in his pursuit of happiness. He still paints, enjoys classical music and poetry by the old masters and, of course--writing.

The Trouble With Understanding my Free-verse Poetry

The beef I have with writing poetry
is often that which someone else can’t see.
I wrote a free-verse once—so sweet and fair,
but someone stuck his nose up in the air
and cried, “Oh, man, your poem doesn’t rhyme!
without a rhyme it fails to ring my chime . . . .”

I tried to reason . . . maybe somewhat terse,
“it’s not supposed to; it’s not that kind of verse . . . .”

He argued, “Man, I like my verses rhymed!”
to which I had an answer quite well timed:

“Why don’t you practice till you get yours right?
but meantime, let me write the way I write.
Walt Whitman wrote in free-verse ‘Leaves of Grass,’
so, kindly get off my—umm—uh—soapbox!”

© Jerry Kemp 2016

Jerry Kemp

Jerry has written and published two books: A Bouquet of Poetic Thoughts II and Galloping Pegasus, four humorous novellas.  Retired from his horse ranch and other activities, Jerry lives with his wife, two dogs, two cats, and numerous birds at the outskirts of the Sonoran desert in Arizona.  Celebrating his 82nd birthday in October 2016, ignoring the onset of Parkinson’s symptoms, Jerry continues on in his pursuit of happiness. He still paints, enjoys classical music and poetry by the old masters and, of course--writing.

Speaking of the various kinds of Poetry I write:

Lyric Poetry:  here the poet expresses the desire embodied in the poem directly; it may take a form that is song-like.

Elegy:  a formal expression of the poet’s grief of death or another sorrowful event.

Pastoral:  a mostly lyric poem dealing with outdoor and country life and idealized figures like shepherds, nymphs, etc.

Narrative:  tells of an incident and events.

Ballads:  one form will have 4 lines to a verse in which the second and fourth line has an end rhyme.  There are several forms.

Blank Verse:  a poem without end rhymes, but written in pentameter (five feet).

Epics:  a lengthy narrative poem in which the poet speaks of heroic and supernatural events, etc.

Dramatic Poetry:  of the sort Shakespeare wrote.

Sonnets:  A Sonnet is, by definition a “Little Love Song,” but the form lends itself to the expression of other subjects, i.e. humor.

Jerry Kemp

Jerry has written and published two books: A Bouquet of Poetic Thoughts II and Galloping Pegasus, four humorous novellas.  Retired from his horse ranch and other activities, Jerry lives with his wife, two dogs, two cats, and numerous birds at the outskirts of the Sonoran desert in Arizona.  Celebrating his 82nd birthday in October 2016, ignoring the onset of Parkinson’s symptoms, Jerry continues on in his pursuit of happiness. He still paints, enjoys classical music and poetry by the old masters and, of course--writing.

Realistic & Unrealistic Expectations of a Poet

Dreams of Poets

In these United States alone,
two million poets are unknown.
But in their dreams they all proclaim
that only their style leads to fame;
Grand words some use, conveniently—
most vague can be such poetry.

I write not for posterity,
for fame, nor for prosperity;
but when my brain has turned to dust,
my skull a bucket filled with rust,
someone may find my rhymes one day
and smile at what I had to say.
Lord Byron I shall never be,
but I wrote pleasing poetry.

© 2016 Jerry Kemp

Jerry Kemp

Jerry has written and published two books: A Bouquet of Poetic Thoughts II and Galloping Pegasus, four humorous novellas.  Retired from his horse ranch and other activities, Jerry lives with his wife, two dogs, two cats, and numerous birds at the outskirts of the Sonoran desert in Arizona.  Celebrating his 82nd birthday in October 2016, ignoring the onset of Parkinson’s symptoms, Jerry continues on in his pursuit of happiness. He still paints, enjoys classical music and poetry by the old masters and, of course--writing.

Still can't write? Here's a rhymed verse that just might help . . .

About That Proverbial Writers Block

There is that so-called writers block--
it’s just another term for “fear”
of failing to write that first draft
on any subject you hold dear.

My sage advice is simply this:
just tap the keys, and then reject
the bulk of words that cover up
a germ one sees in retrospect.

As I’ve said, there’s no such thing as
“writers block.”  Don’t twiddle idle thumbs
or wait for so-called inspiration--
the muse that often never comes.

I say that if you still can’t write
because the fickle muse won’t bite,
then fill the page with oodles
of scribbles and more doodles.

Jerry Kemp

Jerry has written and published two books: A Bouquet of Poetic Thoughts II and Galloping Pegasus, four humorous novellas.  Retired from his horse ranch and other activities, Jerry lives with his wife, two dogs, two cats, and numerous birds at the outskirts of the Sonoran desert in Arizona.  Celebrating his 82nd birthday in October 2016, ignoring the onset of Parkinson’s symptoms, Jerry continues on in his pursuit of happiness. He still paints, enjoys classical music and poetry by the old masters and, of course--writing.