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Gah! It's too hard!

Yes, I'm still laboring to produce a narrative poem before National Poetry Month slides into May.

I've been forcing myself to work in rhyming iambic pentameter, but it's just too hard. (She whined.) My feet are wrong! (Quick definition: The pentameter form is a line with five "feet" or clusters of two syllables adding up to ten syllables in a line. The stress in each line should fall on the second syllable.)

Sure, Shakespeare did just fine with pentameter. (She sniffed.) Big old Elizabethan.

I think I'm going to have better luck actually finishing the poem if I loosen up and allow my lines to be more or less ten syllables. I reprint the lyrics from one of my favorite old songs below, "The Long Black Veil." It's a narrative poem of more or less ten syllables a line.



Ten years ago, on a cold dark night
Someone was killed, 'neath the town hall light
There were few at the scene, but they all agreed
That the slayer who ran, looked a lot like me

The judge said son, what is your alibi
If you were somewhere else, then you won't have to die
I spoke not a word, thou it meant my life
For I'd been in the arms of my best friend's wife

Chorus
She walks these hills in a long black veil
She visits my grave when the night winds wail
Nobody knows, nobody sees
Nobody knows but me

Oh, the scaffold is high and eternity's near
She stood in the crowd and shed not a tear
But late at night, when the north wind blows
In a long black veil, she cries ov're my bones

Comments

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kellyrfineman
Apr. 19th, 2006 01:58 pm (UTC)
I think your revised goal of ditching iambic pentameter is a good one if it allows you to get your poem written. The song definitely worked as a narrative poem without being kept in the box that iambic pentameter would have made for it. (Liked the lyrics, by the way).
lkmadigan
Apr. 20th, 2006 04:58 am (UTC)
After all, I am The Decider.
kellyrfineman
Apr. 20th, 2006 12:50 pm (UTC)
What a moron. W, that is, not you. That was one of the stupidest quotes yet. "I hear the voices, and I read the front page and I know the speculation," the president said. "But I'm the decider, and I decide what's best." First, he's hearing voices. Second, he's reading the "front page" (which is an improvement, because early on he was proud of the fact that he didn't read any newspapers at all). And then there's the last sentence, which seems to indicate that a decider decides. Duh -- that's a tautology. Also, a really stupid sentence.
lkmadigan
Apr. 20th, 2006 01:09 pm (UTC)
But Kelly ... tell us how you really feel.

Haha! A kindred spirit.

W does get points for originality. He puts words together in ways that no one has ever thought to do so before.

kellyrfineman
Apr. 20th, 2006 01:54 pm (UTC)
Yeah -- he learned that from his dad's VP, I'm thinking.
rusalkatrix
Apr. 20th, 2006 02:02 pm (UTC)
Score!!!!!!!!
rusalkatrix
Apr. 19th, 2006 02:27 pm (UTC)
In a long black veil, she cries ov're my bones

I just don't get poets. What is the point of taking out the "e" if you're gonna tack it onto the end?

Crazy kids . . .

Oh--and maybe the reason you're having so much trouble is because not a lot rhymes with "Bono." Heeheehee.
lkmadigan
Apr. 20th, 2006 01:12 pm (UTC)
Oh great, something new to obsess over. You're right!

"Someday I will dance with Bono.
I've been waiting for so long-o."
rusalkatrix
Apr. 20th, 2006 02:01 pm (UTC)
You should read that poem to your son. He and Pecker the Penguin will just laugh and laugh at you. Maybe they can help you come up with some sweet rhymes . . .
c_larkins
Apr. 19th, 2006 02:56 pm (UTC)
Iambic pentameter--ack! I tried it and nearly pulled chunks of hair out of my head! Maybe it is a rhythm thing--you should see me dance...
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