Every Poem Is A Song
The structure, or plot, of a poem is, in my opinion, like the melody in music. It's what holds the words together and keeps us reading...
A present's not a gift until someone sends or brings it,
But a poem is still a song even if no one sings it.
You may think you can't write lyrics, but you're wrong,
If you ever wrote a poem, you wrote a song.
Every poem has a melody inside it,
Although in free verse it's much easier to hide it.
Take, for instance, Mr. Whitman's "Leaves of Grass".
Now, this is a masterpiece, no doubt,
And I don't mean to be too critical, or crass,
But it's laboriously long,
And notoriously short on song,
And although he does give it a nod,
I find it somehow rather odd
That by the end he's all but left the music out.
If what he calls "singing" is so by definition,
It's well camouflaged by piles of superfluity
And about a million unnecessary miles of exposition.
To perform his piece in public Walt's fans rarely get invited.
It takes almost as long to read the thing,
As it took the guy to write it*.
Now, lest you think that I forgot
The premise of this piece, I've not.
It's true I wandered from the path a bit,
But with alacrity, I'll now get back to it.
Most lyrics don't require one jot
Of setting, dialogue, or plot,
But what the better ones have got
Is lots of good old rhythm, rhyme, and repetition.
Every time you write a poem you make a miracle,
And even more so when that miracle is lyrical.
*It is not my intention to impugn or demean Mr. Whitman's work. "Leaves of Grass" was a monumental opus, way ahead of its time, that he worked on for 37 years, from its first publication in 1855, at his own expense, until his death in 1892. To the best of my knowledge, it has never been choreographed or set to music. A reason for that, I suspect, may be that no composer or choreographer wanted to risk growing old, infirm, blind, and possibly dying before the task could be completed.
Copyright © Jim Slaughter | Year Posted 2022
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