Thursday, 16 August 2012

Here Kitty, Kitty...

For me, the most wonderful thing about poetic form is the ability to abandon it.  To know that your words slip off the tongue but refuse to rhyme.  To know that they look like a poem on the page but that their metre is rebellious, out of sync.  To know that there's a thread tying the language together which doesn't have a name, which has been created specially for this poem, because it fits.  

Limericks work when you want to have fun with ideas:

There was an old woman whose cake
Was a hit at the Veganfest Bake
When they pressed for the key
To her sticky green treats
She revealed jars of 'jus de grass snake'.


Villanelles are inextricably linked to villains in my mind (due to an obvious lack of imagination).  The repetition is fab if you have a cracking line that you're really proud of and want to share again and again and again:


Richard III


Rude ragged nurse blurs inky star to smear
Numb, sobbing Liz disrupts conjecture’s thrust
Dick bores through swells of corpses clutching Lear.

Drunk Clarence sings of regal mutineers
Mad Margaret taints each act with bitter rust
Dick bores through swells of corpses clutching Lear.

Round bishop calls for berries, feigning cheer
A messy end awaits his fruitless lust
Rude ragged nurse blurs inky star to smear

York's setting sun yields to a frost-tipped spear
Brash, gnashing boar's impatient dash through dust
Rude ragged nurse blurs inky star to smear

Brave Billie frames Dread Dickie; motives clear
Spiced nest retains wet seal for lack of trust
Dick bores through swells of corpses clutching Lear.

No pony for the king who perseveres
Bloodline of John of Gaunt smeared with mistrust
Rude ragged nurse blurs inky star to smear
Dick bores through swells of corpses clutching Lear.



But these poems don't speak in the same way my free verse speaks.  They are tied down.  The ideas chase the shapes rather than the other way round.  Which is why I love to pervert form, to know it and then abandon it - with abandon:

Fat Cat Demands

Every day he must feast on the fishes, consume the cream,
or small corpses will be written on the doorstep:
a head, a limb
a baby, a foetus.
Veiled threats scribbled in net curtains with claws.
Damp stains in the corner that soap won’t shift.

pivotal puss
penned population

Selfish Kitty – too vital to die, too big to break:
Roll him down the steps of St Paul’s and he purrs,
The cat got the cream and came back for the herd.


Reactions:

1 comments:

Ashley R Lister said...

I think the poetic forms you touch on are representational of some of my favourites.

And that cake looks tasty regardless of the limerick beneath it.

Insightful as ever.

Ash