Ev’ry morning, half past nine,
And Pixie Prentiss writes a sonnet –
Seven minutes, and it’s done,
With notebook, coffee and a bun.
Thirty seconds for a line
Is all she’ll ever spend on it –
Surely nothing good can come
From scribbled scans of tum-de-tum ?
Yet I, who labours hard and long
To craft my wrought and weighty song
Must always envy Pixie’s fleeting fun.
She takes her pen and daily mines
Her fourteen brisk and punctual lines,
While my new verse has scarcely yet begun.
Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome, all –
We’ll shortly be commencing:
I promise we shall soon enthral
Those senses we’re suspensing.
So let me introduce, my friends,
This ev’ning’s main recital –
Where joy and anguish each contends,
And lovers crave requital.
An epic true, a ballad grand
As stanza follows stanza,
Heroic does this potent hand
Bring forth extravaganza:
The finest Truth on life and death
That verse has ever captured.
So hush the lights and stop the breath,
And brace up to be raptured.
Tumbling lines, one from another,
Falling in behind the last;
Each one linking with his brother,
Lacing up and holding fast –
So ev’ry time a rhyme should sound,
Then, potently, a rhyme shall kick,
Until the final line is found
To shut the box with sweetest click.
Synonyms, ah synonyms ! The poet’s greatest jewel:
Facilitating, all-enabling, multiplicating tool.
Synonyms, repeating things, they let us say once more
The same old curds in diff’rent words: a dozen ways to score.
On any subject, of any length,
With first, second, third, then commendeds to tenth.
But note ! There’s a catch, there’s a strange paradigm:
We’re looking for rhapsodies raptured with rhyme !
We know it’s old-fashioned, we know it’s awry,
But surely you cannot be frightened to try ?
So make your rhymes nat’ral and make your rhymes sharp,
To make ’em a hammer or make ’em a harp,
Then relish your rhymes with a resonant rhythm –
But don’t try to force ’em, you just gotta live ’em !
Not plucked from the ether and cultured in jelly,
But grown like an ulcer alive in your belly.
They’ll come when they’re ready, they’ll come without warning,
They’ll come in a flood when your thoughts get to spawning;
Oh sure, they’re not perfect, they still need a polish,
But rub them too hard and you’ll only demolish.
They’re twisty things, rhymes are, a mongrel eclectic;
But get them to spark and your verse is electric.
So send us your poems that make ’em a strength;
On every subject, of every length.
I sometimes feel like life is just preamble,
All As and Bs and As and Bs forever –
There’s building-up of tension for the scramble,
But no antithesis can slip the tether.
Won’t someone blow the whistle on this shamble,
And get me underway in my endeavour ?
I long to find a volta, take a gamble,
But always must await a break in weather…
Your tetrastich hits up the top of your page,
And lonely it sits on its white and crisp stage,
Too precious to muck in, too scared to engage,
Your verse gives no truck for a cut in its wage.
Those acres of landscape were begging to share,
An ocean of paper that’s nothing but spare.
Have you, as its poet, no other to air ?
Then come on and show it ! Let’s put it in there !