For the third assignment of my degree, English Literature and Creative Writing with The Open University I was required to write 40 lines of poetry. This could be one poem or any number. I havent even looked at a poem since high school and was a little worried about completing this assignment.
Read my attempts below and let me know what you think.
Here I stand,
upon the stand,
where once the band did play.
now will play,
the story of our love,
bound with holy vow,
we take that vow,
willingly before our witness,
who bore witness
to the journey we have taken,
even when mistaken,
when we walked our separate paths,
until those paths,
converged again, full circle,
of precious metal upon your finger,
upon my finger,
is the vow upon which we now stand,
where once the band did play.
If a forest fern
should one day learn
how to feel concern,
it would discern
that the swift return
of a fire’s burn
would most surely turn
that once stern fern
into an infirm,
and squirming worm.
he stands before me,
the trials he faced
Climb ever higher
my brave son.
Know you are my pride.
I began my writing with Bandstand. Inspiration came easily thanks to my recent wedding. I found my ideas flowed freely and so, being a beginner to poetry and feeling I did not fully understand much about form at this early stage, I decided to use the free form with hopes that I would not be too worried about getting everything right the first time. I soon changed to the discovered form as remembering, “you create a shape you like in some section of the poem, and decide you want to repeat it.” (Herbert, in Anderson, p.245) from the workbook, realised I had found a shape I liked in my first few lines.
My worries of feeling constricted were quickly forgotten, and I found that having a firm shape in place made the following lines fall into place easily.
I had focused so little on syllabics and beat in my first piece; I decided to use this as the base for my second. I also wanted to concentrate on rhymes, having been taken by the comical rhymes of The Shrimp, I found myself wanting to attempt something similar.
I was unsure where to start and found myself searching my room for an idea. Luckily my eyes settled on the Boston fern I had recently purchased and felt it held some fun possibilities.
I made a list of “Rhymewells” (Herbert, in Anderson, p.225) from which I formed a loose idea of a story. I wrote the first two lines and found I had used five beats on the first and four on the second. I made this the pattern for the rest of the piece.
When finished I found I was not happy with the overall story, especially the end. I started to rework parts. Immediately I cut four lines from the middle and fiddled with the last three. I changed Boston fern to forest fern as I preferred the alliteration and the imagery. This gave me the image of worms, a rhyme I had not thought of in my first list and which ultimately led me to an ending I was happier with. Overall I would not say the piece is particularly comical, but I am happy with what I achieved.
For my final piece I decided to carry on with syllabics and chose three-five as my count. I was interested what I would come up with when forced to use a certain number of syllables. I eventually decided to use my developing relationship with my adopted son as the base.
Having a clear idea of what I wanted to say I began writing lines. I changed one or two words, such as ‘reborn’ to ‘reforged’ as it made more sense with the first line and painted a clearer image. I wanted to give the last three lines more impact so chose to use a device I had not yet tried, the line break. “If we break at the end of a clause or sentence, then we reinforce grammatical sense with an unspoken emphasis” (Herbert, in Anderson, p.181). This seemed like the logical solution.
I think it worked well and the third piece is actually my favourite.
Overall I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed writing these poems and will continue to explore this medium.