How Good (poem)


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I’ve been reading Stephen Dobyns’ Next Word, Better Word: The Craft of Writing Poetry in part because I wanted to reacquaint myself with the power of metered verse and to also challenge myself to plunge headlong into some rather uncomfortable writing exercises. They used to cause no discomfort at all; I jumped at the chance to try my hand at a sonnet (that didn’t usually go well) or a villanelle (hard as hell to pull off). I love free verse, and though I’m also conscious of rhythm in my poems, I usually don’t scan them revise with meter and rhythm in mind. Sometimes, that’s the last thing a poem needs, but I’d like to expand my voice a little more. So the next few poems will be exercises in form. Perhaps I’ll get a few winners out of them. If not, I’ll just have fun with language, which is one thing that first drew me to poetry.

I’ve yet to find a way to get WordPress to correct display the visual arrangement of my poems. In this case, the second, third, fifth, and sixth lines of the first stanza is indented, and the pattern is repeated in the second stanza. Ah, well.

How Good

How good it is to be free among the world —
no monocled monkey
dancing, aflame,
as the besotted organ-grinder misses a beat —
not belonging to him
and not to her,
a lady perfumed, coiffed, and always neat.

How good it is to to be more than we know–
yes to breath, yes to pain
sun-faced, aglow,
while the crowded, mass-effect, corona flare
sizes us up and declares
victory for once,
and we all vibrate in the new-found air.


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