Today’s NaPoWriMo optional prompt led me in this direction:
An Essay on Poetry
I read an article about the line
in poetry and how a poem needs
a longer line and asks the poet, “Does
a break enhance the meaning? And if not
then set a couple lines, or three or four
together into one extended line.
About the time that Kennedy and King were killed
and modernism died to be replaced
by a post-modern mindset, one in which
the world turned grey, and not the kinky grey
of domineering sex, but one where all
the verities were overturned, a world
where everything was always right and wrong;
a world without authority, a world
whose mantra soon became, “Well who’s to say?”
there was another essay on the line
and how and when to start another line.
The poet said you were supposed to end
the line grammatically. You end it with
the ending of a thought, a clause, a phrase;
except for emphasis, the poet might
decide to place important words apart
from where they really should be placed.
Of course the writer was attempting to
create a sense of structure in the line
of poetry that had been disemboweled
when meter was abandoned and then killed.
My favorite, though for how to write a line
of poetry was simply take a breath.
The line is ended when you have to breathe
again. Great lungs equate to longer lines.
But if you smoked, had emphysema, then
your lines would be much shorter. You could tell
a poet’s health by looking at his lines.
A healthy poet writes in longer lines
according to this theory of the line.
Of course it never really worked that way,
and now we’re post-post-modern and the line
we’ve all been writing now is obsolete.
The short line’s out. The longer line is in.
It was much easier with formal verse.
The line is over when you get to ten.
You count the syllables and stop at ten.