If I have the time, I will try to rhyme

There are people in this world who, though very gifted — brilliant, even — in useful ways, still want to be poets. My dad — a gifted mathematician — wanted to be a poet. I knew this about him, but until I cleaned out the garage this past spring, I didn’t realize how MUCH he wanted to be a poet.

There was a lot of (bad) poetry. Great poetry because my dad wrote it, but… One of his treasures was a rhyming dictionary. I treasured it for years and years and years — since I was 10 and he discovered I might be a REAL poet someday. My dad sometimes lectured me onย vers libre, poetry with no rhyme or rhythm (often no rhyme or reason) and he wrote poetry in this style.

I did really want to be a poet. I personally (and somewhat secretly) love poetry. Poetry can make my emotions catch their breath. Last fall I was in Taos with a friend and met Pierre DeLattre, a painter and writer. It was an intense encounter because it involved paintings (beautiful paintings!) and Yeats.

Though the study of it enhanced my ability to love it, studying literature and loving poetry are not always the same thing. In my Critical Writing class (a great class with a fine professor) as an undergraduate we were tasked to write 10 different essays about ONE poem by Yeats. I learned more about academic writing in that class than any other I took. The poem I chose was “The Double-Vision of Michael Robartes” which honestly made no sense to me at all until I began writing about it and then it became more than just a poem (“just” a poem?) It does rhyme. The rhymes are somewhat agonized at times, but it all works to a beautiful effect at the end where the final rhyme is broken; close, but not quite there.

These days rhyme often gets a bad rap ( ha ha ). In my opinion, rhyme is a pretty cool thing. It helps people remember. It creates music, something often missing from my dad’s belovedย vers libre. End rhymes and rhythm are part of nature. Inside each seed is the coded destination of the flower and the fruit.

For what but eye and ear silence the mind
With the minute particulars of mankind?

“The Double Vision of Michael Robartes” William Butler Yeats


10 thoughts on “If I have the time, I will try to rhyme

  1. If it rhymes it is poetry – although I have had a dabble at non rhyming poetry, but then is it poetry? I play safe with Jabberwocky and The Raven, it’s my kind of thing. I am not the romantic kind,

  2. There are poems I like. There are many more poems I do NOT like. I enjoy friendly rhymes from friends, but have absolutely NO interest in becoming a poet. The world should be grateful.

    • I wrote a lot of poems over the years — hundreds. Some are good. Most are not. I think writing poetry was a way I used to train myself to write prose. I just looked at my old poems this morning and one I wrote when I was 14 is frighteningly prescient. I wrote how I wanted to see the world, have adventures, have a meaningful career and when I was done I wanted to go somewhere with high mountains, vast empty spaces, fields, lakes, animals and a river. It’s a love poem. It’s terrible but it’s also beautiful. I’m glad I found it. I’m glad I was that girl, but otherwise, other than me, maybe, the world should be grateful I don’t write poetry either (but I do) ๐Ÿ˜‰

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