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Modern Poetry

Have you read a poem lately; they're all written in ‘free verse’.
Like the murmurs of a hippy high on drugs or something worse,
They're a dangling meander through the tulips of their time,
Where the last thing that they care about comes on the second line.
Seems the weirder that you make them, the more you are adored;
Proving anyone can write them, stringing words of scant accord.
Like a drug-induced arrangement, spewing text because you can,
And as I've yet to try and read them out‘s a clue - I'm not a fan.
At first I thought it must be me; I've been so out of touch,
So I searched for poems said to rhyme, and not found very much,
Just a few odd bits of free stuff with a rhyming paragraph
Bereft of lines to make you think or even make you laugh.
Then next I read that publishers look down on rhyming bards,
And say their work’s just fit for kids or lines in birthday cards.
These leaders of the literary world are steering us to ruin;
Poem’s fate is in their hands, and they don’t know what they’re doing.
Try this: give new poems to a regular chap and bid him read to you,
And he'll be in 'free verse freefall' before he’s half way through.
I further bet he’ll raise his head and ask you, “What’s the plot?
I can't go on; this makes no sense - is this a joke or what?”
Oh no, old son, you’re doing well; it's from a leading poet.
It’s top class stuff, renowned by all - but you wouldn’t frigging know it.
I've written poems many years and never planned to cash them;
Just my damn luck if I should try – I'd find they're out of fashion.

Last few words: 
No offense intended here - this poem was just a knee jerk reaction to some comments received from a fellow (so called) poet that writes meaningless drivel and thinks that he knows it all - Sometimes you have to put certain folk right.
Editing stage: 


they know what they're talking about.
Not everyone chooses to write doggerel.
I'm not denigrating your stuff, but there is a bit more to poetry than easy rhymes.

Remember we are a workshop site.
Don't forget to offer critique on poems you read.

Thanks Jane,
I am still learning on the poetry front - in particular I want to understand and feel the appeal of free verse, which was a large part of the attraction of this site to me. Just being able to read the works and the related comments gives me an excellent insight to each piece.
Best, Dennis

author comment

Yo, Dennis, you don't reeaally take it to heart if some proclaimed poet gives an opinion on your work do you? just nod yer head and smile at them mate !
Once you start playing to the gallery you can kiss originality g'bye.
Having said that, this seems to be one of the most knowledgeable forums thats around.

( pssssst, I'm a doggerel lover, and not a fan of freestyle myself )


Hi Obi,
oh no - I would never get upset with opinions about my stuff - each to their own in my mind. As you can tell from the flavor of the poem, I have had my share - and I can take it...mind you, I might possible reply with a little personalised doggerel (a new word to me!) but only if I'm moved enough.

Speak again I hope,
Best, Dennis

author comment

I guess King David was a stoned hippy when he wrote the 23th Psalm, the most famous poem ever written.
I think you hit it right when you mentioned birthday cards. You can share with others with similar talent and depth on

I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

Oh look, it's dear old Empy, back to have another poke.
With his buddy, Old King David, brought to emphasise the joke.
The Lord should be your shepherd pal and take you into care,
as that psalm is not a poem – it’s a song first then a prayer.

And while I’m down at Hallmark, guess I’ll ask them for your card
and I’ll think of something nice to write – it won’t be very hard.
but unlike you I’ll make it rhyme and interesting to read
As we need a bit of talent Emp in order to succeed.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And you chose my Contest Entry and you asked “what grade" I'm in.
What a perfect start to “Comments” ….. How an expert would begin.
And to help your cause you ask my age - to seek and find connections,
to your years of vast experience – that dealt with such complexions.

Then to ask “Do you read poetry?” and am I King David’s clone,
to establish if I’m influenced - or just going it alone.
And “a poet that is a favourites?” yet a chance to lay more blame,
was a poor attempt to have a jibe…and makes you sound more lame.

So, get on with your learning Emp, seems one bird’s is all you need.
And go dancing in your garden, through the night - you might succeed.
But I’m not surprised you act like this - as I’ve just read all your work,
Condescension’s for the gifted Emp – not some jumped up can’t rhyme jerk!

author comment

free verse that's a bit more approachable and make a note here - then possibly you could start by cutting your teeth on those. It is worth persevering with - honest!
Give me a couple of days - away at the moment.

Remember we are a workshop site.
Don't forget to offer critique on poems you read.

Many thanks - I shall look forward to your guidance.

author comment

Free verse doesn't have any rules really, no set structure but the expression of sentiments or subject matter raises it above mere prose through the beauty of the language.
This is by Walt Whitman

After the Sea-Ship

AFTER the sea-ship, after the whistling winds,
After the white-gray sails taut to their spars and ropes,
Below, a myriad myriad waves hastening, lifting up their necks,
Tending in ceaseless flow toward the track of the ship,
Waves of the ocean bubbling and gurgling, blithely prying,
Waves, undulating waves, liquid, uneven, emulous waves,
Toward that whirling current, laughing and buoyant, with curves,
Where the great vessel sailing and tacking displaced the surface,
Larger and smaller waves in the spread of the ocean yearnfully
The wake of the sea-ship after she passes, flashing and frolicsome
under the sun,
A motley procession with many a fleck of foam and many fragments,
Following the stately and rapid ship, in the wake following.

Here is another

by D. H. Lawrence

Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;
Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see
A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.
In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song
Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong
To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside
And hymns in the cosy parlour, the tinkling piano our guide.
So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamour
With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour
Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast
Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past.

Both poems don't follow any set pattern, but they express so much, in such beautiful language.
Hope you enjoyed them.
I ought to add - free verse isn't modern though - these were written over 100 years ago. Emily Dickinson also wrote in this form.

Remember we are a workshop site.
Don't forget to offer critique on poems you read.

Many thanks once again for the samples - I can see how the mind paintings work to a degree - I just have to try and find the correct rhythm to read them in. My reference to modern poetry is more about the usage these days or the ease of usage - making it available to everyone that cares to try. The only problem I notice, is that when I speak to the young (20+) about poetry they look blankly back at me and reject the idea almost immediately, with references to wind and weather,clouds and skies.... and then change the subject asap. The one big advantage that rhyming poems have is that they are easy to learn and are often remembered for life, because if you get them wrong...they don't work. For me I have countless albums that I am still almost word perfect to, due to them rhyming and creating a structure that fits the music. I promise to keep trying to understand free verse and your help has been most appreciated.

author comment

don't get too hung up on the metre and cadence of the poems. Everything has its natural rhythm and if you read it out loud, you will find it.
I'm not proclaiming to be an expert, but here is a recording I did of D.H. Lawrence's 'The Piano', so you can see what I mean. Just click on the link
It's a different sort of rhythm to the one you are used to.

Remember we are a workshop site.
Don't forget to offer critique on poems you read.

Too much of what is passed off as free verse these days is actually chopped prose. And too much rhyming poetry is overwhelmed by the intent to rhyme. But when either form is really done'll know it when you read it. Enjoyed the poem and free use of near rhyme here and there......stan

Hey Stan,

thanks for taking the time - I agree with you totally, though unfortunately the balance of free verse to rhyming is not set up to work at the moment. I personally believe that there are only handfuls of folk that fully appreciate poetry and in an effort to encourage them to be involved the simple rules that made a poem a poem have been dissolved - and it works!!! I can't knock that, as involvement is important - but it doesn't make them any easier to understand.
Best, Dennis

author comment

your work is so juvenile assumed you were in grade i meant to offer some guidance....that's my bad, and for that I do apologize.

BTW, a psalm is a type of poem. That is universally accepted. So is hallmark card poetry a type of poetry. Like McDonald's is a type of food.

I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

I accept your apology, even though you still make references to my work as being juvenile. Surely as a musician you must have to learn your share of lyrics - and you must similarly know that the words are required to be metered and to fit the music mainly through the use of rhymes. As I write nearly as many lyrics as I do poems I struggle to see how you can make such a similarity.

I will make an effort to read more and understand your poetry and hopefully you might do the same.

I never bare malice after a disagreement, unless it gets personal - see you around I hope.

Best, Dennis

author comment

I totally agree with your first paragraph in its entirety. I feel that poems, that had required some forethought, are mostly ignored, and that's why I refrain from posting here. Ali

Hi Ali, thank you very much for dropping by and tapping me a few much appreciated words. if you ever find anywhere that appreciates our old style, please let me know and I'll join your there.

Best regards, Dennis

author comment

I mostly write in free verse though I surprise myself when internal rhymes happen or my poem is better suited for a rhyming pattern.

What doesn't surprise me is the sometimes vicious argument between rhyme and non-rhyming poets.

I'm familiar with Obie's poems, and can't imagine them in any other style. That being said, if one doesn't read poetry in any other style, I think one becomes too involved in one's own box of *how poetry should be written and what makes a good poem*.

On the other hand, Dennis, your rhyme is wayyyyyyyyyyyyy above the ordinary Hallmark variety. Why? Its content and context.

Cheers. And let's not forget to read poetry. The USA's Poets Laureates is a good beginning, few are rhyming poets. Seems to me the greats have all had their say and I don't know any rhyming poets that have made the list of greats. It's just the sign of our times.

I leave with one of my fav poems and poets:

The Nomad Flute W.S. Merwin

You that sang to me once sing to me now
let me hear your long lifted note
survive with me
the star is fading
I can think farther than that but I forget
do you hear me

do you still hear me
does your air
remember you
oh breath of morning
night song morning song
I have with me
all that I do not know
I have lost none of it

but I know better now
than to ask you
where you learned that music
where any of it came from
once there were lions in China

I will listen until the flute stops
and the light is old again.


Throw that woman a fish !!!
Well said dear.
Stunning poem by, Merwin. too.


Hi Kaila,

I believe totally in each to their own - this business of folk actually arguing their corners is quite new and unexpected to me. I'd hoped to find that all poets could share their own personal choices and occasionally appreciating another styles enough to give good comments.

I agree with your sentiments - we should like what we like and still find time to listen to what we don't know.

Loved your poem, thanks for leaving it for me - very much appreciated.

Best, Dennis

author comment

is how anyone can mistake "The Piano" for a free-verse poem?
While I am primarily a rhyming poet, I do appreciate some good free-verse works and other types that don't rhyme. BUT...just as there is good work in free-verse, there is poor and bad stuff, just as there is good and bad in rhyme. Just because you don't like it, it doesn't make it bad. There are those out there that feel you can string a bunch of words together and call it free-verse and it doesn't have to tell a story or create a message, I would say that is bad! But, what do I know? I have written some free-verse works and they have been very well received, but I do try tell a story or make a statement. I concur that there are many poets out there who rhyme and they suck! The cadence runs rampant and the pattern doesn't hold up. Just remember that there are many writers out there in all manner of poetry, that write well within their chosen genre, but outside of it, are lost. Make an effort to learn something about each form before you just go off on a tirade! ~ Geezer.

P.S. I looked up every word given in a definition of psalm and did not find the word poem connected with any of them.

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Geezer, it was me.
Have no idea what I was thinking at the time, so can't answer you.

Remember we are a workshop site.
Don't forget to offer critique on poems you read.

Modern poets are often highly studied in all the prosodic forms. Rhyme, meter, alliteration, assonance, consonance, enjambment, catalesis and more. The idea is to incorporate these tools into your prosodic toolkit so that when you want to say something meaningful the tools come to pen without being forced or even obvious. Meaning and emotional effect take precedence.

This makes for far the best poetry without sounding like a nursery rhyme or general doggeral.

Your whinge is just that. Learn your craft and your poetry will improve and become more meaningful.

Neopoet Managing Directors, with Richard (themoonman)

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