I was trying for a week between entries, but it looks like I slipped up by about three days. Can I claim a long weekend, and a visit from my boys, as an excuse? I hope so, because that's what I'm doing.
I was sitting outside in the backyard, sipping on a pipe, watching the hawks against a backdrop of storm clouds slipping in from somewhere down south, and I started thinking about forms. That's not all that strange. I had a poem forming in my mind as I was enjoying a very nice blend in my briar ('Ruins of Isengard'). With a name like that, it was bound to get a few literary wheels turning. My thoughts turned to Professor Tolkien's use of the old forms he used in his books whenever poetry or songs needed to take the stage.
I realize this debate has gone on for at least a century, longer, if you look at the entire history of poetry, I suppose. I have no argument against "formal" poetic form versus free verse. I keep trying to convince myself that if I write in free verse, I'll sound more modern, gain a larger audience, and give more meaning to the reader. Then, I'll start to write something, and I'll stop. It won't flow. But... if I recast it into a pantoum, or a rondelle, or sapphic, it takes shape almost immediately. This is probably the reason why those of you who do read my poetry have to wait so long between pieces. It's not a lack of material, or a loss of creative drive (believe me, I'm bipolar. I know when I have a loss of creative drive), instead, it seems to be that the words are trying to find what form suits them best. So, it's rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, until the words seem content enough to be read as a whole.
I saw this happen when I would write on-line after having been given a topic and 60 seconds to formulate a poem. I would always find a meter and a rhyme scheme. The same would occur when I would write in tandem with another poet (and if anyone knows where AOL's Candle In A Cage went, I'd be forever grateful). I don't know if I'm pre-disposed to form, meter, and rhyme, meaning that free verse is an aberration for me. I do know that there are times I need the structure of a particular form to help me get the piece onto paper.
None of my poems are perfect. That's why I keep writing. Maybe, before I depart into the Great Void, I'll write a perfect poem. I doubt it, but it's a nice goal to have. Whether it will have form or not, I can't say.
I'll try again for a week. Please, no stones thrown if it's ten days, though. And, yes, there is a poem in here about hawks, storms and hummingbirds. Give me time; it'll come.