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Why You Should Try Your Hand at a Poem -- by Kevin Murphy

You should, you know, even if you are determined to be its sole reader. To me, it’s exactly like asking. “Why should you brush your teeth?” Well? Should you? What if you shun thoughts of other people examining and assessing your teeth? Right. Brush them anyway. It’ll be good for you and you will enjoy the difference. Write a poem for yourself, then. It will be cleansing to any writing you’re cutting your teeth on right now. Try a mindless ditty akin to HEY DIDDLE, DIDDLE. Who knows what that’s about? When’s the last time you shouted “Hey!” To your neighborhood Diddle Diddle?” Or, maybe your mind’s depths are of a greater measure. How about a life-threatening drama or history lesson completely obscured from view yet there for all to see, one akin to GOOSEY GOOSEY GANDER.
Goosey goosey gander, 
Wherefore dost thou wander?
Upstairs and downstairs
And in my lady's chamber.
There I met an old man
Who wouldn't say his prayers,
So I took him by his left leg
And threw him down the stairs.
This is from the POV of Henry VIII’s religious soldier/policemen. They wore loose fitting gaudy colored uniforms. Those ganders were goosey indeed. Their prey, a Catholic priest, hid in a priest hole in a venue quite out of bounds for priests, soldiers or males of any make or model, a lady’s chamber. The poem tells of the sacrilegious goings-on of predator and prey. When found, the priest “wouldn’t say his prayers,” i.e. would not redirect his loyalty from Roman Catholicism to Henry’s Church of England. The rest is history. Then, for the really ambitious, you might try the language use/abuse akin to MAIRZY DOATS:
Mares eat oats
And does eat oats
And little lambs eat ivy.
A kid’ll eat ivy too;
Wouldn’t you.
This one allows attribution. Milton Drake, Al Hoffman and Jerry Livingston conspired on that ditty in 1943. 
Even if you were to fail in your effort to produce a product that satisfies you, you cannot evade the fruit of the process. I cited three extraordinary products. I kind of wish I didn’t have to. The finery distracts from my point. My point is that the product came from a process of writing. It was a remote process of cleaning and more cleaning of each fore-chosen product: zaniness, mystery/history, language acrobatics. I say, all writers should periodically clean/brush a few small bits of writing for no other reason than because you know how. You’ll enjoy the hygiene you'll render, even if the teeth are never displayed except behind closed doors, in the bathroom mirror.
Posted by Kevin Murphy 23 Jun 2015 at 00:44
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Responses to this blog

Chaine 23 Jun 2015 at 11:57  
Many writers avoid writing poetry because they think it's very difficult. Writing poetry is no more difficult than writing prose. Writing great poetry is difficult, but writing great prose is equally difficult. I find it strange to think that ever member of CC believes they can write prose but many believe they can't write poetry.

Writers of prose are aware they have a choice of genre but I wonder if some writers don't realises that they also have wide choices in poetry genre. A glance at the list of Category:Genres of poetry will show there are genres for everyone.

A poem can be completed in very short time and the writer does get the satisfaction of having completed an entire piece of writing. There are many moments that inspire writers that have no place in prose. Record these moments in a poem. A short poem or a long poem, it doesn't matter. Keep the poem to yourself or share it, but do it.

There are many examples of very good writing in our little CC poetry section. Perhaps these little gems would never have been written if not for poetry. Perhaps we should all try a little poetry and see where it takes our writing.

Chaine 23 Jun 2015 at 12:00  
Sorry, I intended to give a link for Category:Genres of poetry.
Imjustdru 23 Jun 2015 at 16:31  
Like the Joe here, I've written my share of poetry as well as song lyrics of the Quiet Storm R&B variety (I know that's somewhat apropos but you get the idea). And that's the origin of my own writing.

I have a box of them and some of them sound lyrical in a sense.
Kdshane 29 Jun 2015 at 20:49  
I always felt that poetry was not my strong suit and was frankly a little tiny bit ashamed whenever I tried my hand at it. Mostly though that was because I didn't know poems didn't have to rhyme. Then I read some of more modern poems like Sharon Oldes and I now know how wrong I was. Sadly, though I still haven't tried my hand at it since my misinformed attempt, but you know what I do have some clips and phrases floating around in my head that I would love to get out of my brain even though i know they'll probably never make it into a story.
So...good advice!
Kcm 30 Jun 2015 at 04:08  
It seems to me, Kdshane, that you've caged yourself unwisely. Even here you close yourself off a bit

[quoteThen I read some of more modern poems like Sharon Oldes]One need not restrict oneself to modern poetry to access beautiful non-rhyming poems. Perhaps you might Google Robert Frost's MENDING WALL or if you really want to test this theory I advance, try Kahlil Gibran's THE PROPHET.

I'll wager that once outside that cage, you could impress yourself — and a writer needs, every so often to be impressed with him/herself.
Chaine 30 Jun 2015 at 11:58  

Chaine 30 Jun 2015 at 12:00  
I think you could do worse than to 'dip your toe in the water' by adding the odd line to our Build a limerick forum. It's fun and easy to do. Just add a line to the lines that are already there. It may give you a bit of confidence to try something a little more challenging. Here is an easy to understand lesson on How to Write a Limerick.
Nico 30 Jun 2015 at 13:54  
For toe-dipping into writing poetry, The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within, by Stephen Fry can hardly be beat.
Kcm 2 Jul 2015 at 04:30  
I set my Kindle aside; triggerin an urge to tell someone why I did so. I typed this to scratch that urge.

I followed the link offered and downloaded Stephan Fry?s book. The page that stopped me in my tracks was graced by two simple words, ?Chapter One.? After savoring his Foreword, I can only be facing disappointment and I?ve already gotten my eleven dollars back in value. I?ll steel myself for a let down and then proceed when I?ve done that. Oh! And thank you for steering me thus.

Kcm 2 Jul 2015 at 04:35  
I need to learn to filter my WORD 2010 text through NOTEPAD before pasting it here. CC seems to find quotation marks and apostrophes to be of questionable character. I'll take credit for "triggerin."
Nico 2 Jul 2015 at 05:13  
Hey Kevin. I hope you enjoy the Fry book — I think you will! It's a fun one. And nice to have around.

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