2014 Poetry Form Challenge
#07 Free Verse Poetry
The most popular poetry today without doubt is Free Verse. Some would argue that it is not proper poetry,
but that would put them in the minority of poets who insist that poetry must rhyme, and must also have some
form of meter. There is another school of thought that insists that poetry need not have a rhyme and even
more who state that there is no need for meter.
If it is as stated then poetry is a metered verse and prose is unmetered; and having said that, some alleged
poetry whilst rhyming has no meter and some prose whilst not rhyming has some form of meter.
Some free verse you have read has been deliberately cut so that it just presents the appearance of a poem and
yet there is no tempo to help the poem along.
This points out that despite its title "Free Verse" it must have elements of form.
T.S. Eliot wrote, "No verse is free to a poet who wants to do a good job".
In fact my opinion is that no poet can write truly great free poetry unless he or she has served an
apprenticeship of writing form poetry first.
Having said that it means that the trained poet has now got the freedom to attempt unusual conventions
and produce a really unique product.
Every morning as we rode out training
We would see this dero arrive
Shuffling along, unaware of life around
Clutching his life in a brown paper bag
He would settle into his corner of the bus shelter
His special seat
Rain or shine he'd be there
As we'd ride past.
As we rode past.
He awoke from his alcohol induced slumber
For a minute, once again he was a hero
As he leapt into the air and caught the football
"What a mark" you could hear him say
As he punched the air with his fist
Holding his imaginary ball to the crowd
Then he settled down once more
Into his corner of the bus shelter
His special seat
And we rode on.
- Terry Clitheroe
- Blue Mountains
- Image of Eternity
- Night Gently Weeps
- Pavey Ark (Memories)
- Divena Collins
- Humanity Nil
- Seasonal Love
- Submission Nil
- Thousand Desires
- Bill Pearce
- Dark Room
- Fantasy to Reality
- Mount Belair
- Peter Willowdown
- Salamander Salt Kiss
- Storm Horse's Stolen Alphabet
- What Lovely Dreams
When I fell,
I fell head first,
and was swept along
this was no downhill glide
it was an avalanche of emotions!
an exponential ride to heaven
they themselves requiring more
an avalanche of desire!
When does love change
or does lust create love?
and will that sated love
becoming an Avalanche of peace?
I ask only
because of how I feel about you
and the avalanche you create
inside of me.
The beautiful thing about Sydney
Is the Blue Mountains
Once you have seen them
You are theirs forever
There is a scent
You will never forget
This scenery is what you will see
When you return to Heaven
And if you live there
You are in Heaven.
Where there is Heaven
There must always be Hell
I have seen lightening strikes
And its creation of fire
The blue Eucalypt gas
Feeding the flames
Till all that was left
The creator of that death
Is also the creator of birth
And within weeks
All is thriving once again
By the growth of green leaves
Where you'll see life thriving again
The blue mist rises
Again it becoming the blue mountains.
Image of Eternity
Looking at you
Makes me think of eternity
And that is carried forwards to my dreams.
I dream of looking at the stars
Then I realise I’m looking into your eyes.
The smile on your lips is as bright as the sun
But there is no glare to stop my looking.
That brightness warms my soul
Then I know what eternity means.
Eternity with you is an endless period of time
A time where love will expand
We will see the stars come and go
But none will exceed the light in your eyes.
Nor will we ever deny our future dreams
Love will be with us throughout eternity
Just by looking at you.
The Night Gently Weeps
The moons soft silvery light filters into the room
Casting long white patches and long shadows
Outside the night wind begins its call
Causing dust weevils and brown leaves to dance
Spiralling slowly in a slow waltz time.
An old, silver birch softly tap taps on the window
In rhythm to the winds dirge.
Inside the maid lies on her bed
Dark red hair cascading, contrasting against the pillows
Her pale face hidden in white
Save for the blood red lips and deep, sunken, black eyes
Frail from pain, wracked by loss of love
A shadowy figure appears at her bedside
Takes her hand and bows and kisses her
Slowly covering her in a shadowy blanket
Finally she smiles a wan smile
And joins her lover forever
And the night gently weeps.
Pavey Ark (Memories)
After the blue of Stickle Tarn
The green grass
Is replaced by stones
Ancient stones mixed with new
Scree leading up to the vertical rock
The face of Pavey Ark.
There is a scar in its face
Starting at the Eastern end
It climbs westwards
Right across its face.
I have never ascended by Jake
But have descended many times
After ascending via the climbs.
On Pavey Ark's face.
I have introduced people to rock climbing
Via Gwynne's chimney
And ascended many climbs
Testing myself on the traverse
Soloing across the whole face.
The picture in my mind
Is naught but a memory now.
It is on the opposite side of the world
And almost half a century ago.
I also remember half running
With my mates
Down the path to the New Dungeon Ghyll
Where pint glasses of Guinness were drunk
In celebration of a good days climbing.
I raise my glass now,
Thankful for those memories.
Why do I run?
Why do I fight?
I must give in
To the inevitable
Eros has fired his arrow
And he never misses his target.
No longer can I deny you
Or will ever want to
You are now a part of me
I was lost in you.
And so I must ask
Why should I run?
Why should I fight?
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I pray to God may I come back as a man
if ever I get the chance again
for as a woman I shall ever be ignored
when I have no rights
I shall not want to talk about politics
because to me they dont mean too much
all I ever need is to understand
what makes a man's mind tick.
I have no further education of life
a brain like an empty shell
if I only had the right opportunity
there is so much more I could do
for I was born practically humane
yet for this a woman must suffer
slavery once was abandoned
yet why does it still go on.
If a man within rights is a life giver
what chance has a woman got
when man sows the seeds of eternal life
she has nought to do with the matter
why then must a mother be cast aside
when her task is over.
shall it be her that may be extracted.
Of the hurt and pain that dwells within
love shall not feel the same
what we once had was heaven sent
how could this now be so
such is the torment of a lovers quest
when love shall fade.
Memories of past shall fade too soon
how may I be such a fool
when love back then, was only a word
that now has no meaning
yet why ever does this hurt still remain
So deep within my heart.
Why is it that love is so vulnerable
so cruel the pain of words
that stifles loves unforgettable moments
so hastily cast to one side
for tears and heartache may bear no pain
from memories there after.
Lessons learned are so soon forgotten
Until the next time.
When autumn shrouds the cloudy skies
Upon tinted shades of loves moods
casting a spell of eternal harmony
upon an autumns skyline
each season shall ever be the same
the coming of winters sleet and snows
that drifts within the woodlands floor
cold of winter.
Come worthiness of a spring season
so devoid of the dreary paths of winter
that affords ne-er to warm thy soul within
of natures blessed harmony
canst thy feel the sun upon thy face
when the dew drops kiss thy lips
like a lover that warms thy heart an soul
that casts not a shadow.
Cast thy senses that reign within
of sweet perfume that shall linger forth
from the lustiness of a primrose maiden
that provoke's love
spring being the season for lovers
eternal fantasies shall ne`er go adrift
no other season shall be a blessing that
shall warm within.
Panic stricken butterflies flutter by
I feel within the presence of fear
so much I remain as still
wings of birds remain so alike
that I shall ever be afraid of
however pretty they may look
but only from afar
I tolerate the fear I have inside
though innocent within their stature
I may never submit.
Yet I may never fear a wolf that howls
nor a stallion running as wild
mounted an elephant in london zoo
that I had nearly forgotten
the larger the beast the braver was I
within my own discretion
anything with wings was not for me
just something to do with the feathers
whether it shall be a bird or insect
I may never submit.
A Thousand Desires
This night of love was young
when I felt thy breath upon my face
with the warmth of desirous dreams
enticing an inner fantasy of passion
which thrilled me much
I saw love burning within thine eyes
teasing and enticing
this very thought
I cherished within.
I felt thy touch soft on my skin
lingering, gently but oh what bliss
thrilling me like you knew it would
casting thy spells of passion therein
which thrilled me much
enticing desires of heavenly delight
is it any wonder
I should submit.
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Lady night arrives on time,
dressed in midnight,
long dress and sleeves
star buttons, undone
she dances slow,
to cover my eyes,
and let me feel her charms,
against my chest,
to feed me the flavors
of her wine,
made from desire
and impish sprinkles
from her woman places.
needing to be filled,
with hope endings
lyrics of lonely,
whispered in rhyme,
hidden under her gown
in the folds of dark,
where glisten is felt
or tasted, not seen,
where skin ends emboss
and bruise the touch,
but never grace the eyes
where tomorrow is erased
with the brush of her fingers
across eyelids of caution.
Fantasy to Reality
I shouldn't be
thinking of you now
the guilt of
what might be
should we allow it
I'm angry at
what I've thrown
away even before
my hand has
It is the mountains
that don't grow
even with all the rain
they are stunted
to just be hills,
budding green sprouts
and poison ivy
and promises of peaks
in another million years.
From the window
dressed in a earthquake trap
older than memories,
she leans back to pose
and let my eyes
eat their fill
of the dark tips
and slow curve volumpt
and a couple of scars,
implants of asphalt
for the fingers of progress
to follow down
to her Franando belly.
The sky is lucky
to be brown
and have her breasts
pressed so deep
against cloud ribs
where her thighs
receive the sea.
a net effect
like sitting under a waterfall
as the liquid surrounding you
presses in all directions
with the bubbles of air
clinging to the skin
as they roll upwards
following the contours of the body.
this is a feeling
you, touched by phases of matter-in-motion
are held in place by the Brownian
movements of uncountable objects
a cumulation of forces.
brownian like tea vapors, swirling
in air and water
a concentration of effect
reaching into the beyond.
sitting in this place
what are you giving out?
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Salamander Saltkiss was a most unusual fellow:
whilst all his friends would hiss and splutter
in the crackling flame, writhing in pure joy
Saltkiss liked nothing better
than dreary English weather,
haunting quiet country lanes in the pouring rain.
As all his firedrake chums got hotter and hotter
frolicking in friendly hearths
he set out for damper parts
and just got wetter and wetter
- what a peculiar boy!
His mother called Saltkiss a freak
and sucking her razor-sharp teeth
said that he gave her goosebumps down the spine
and made her poor heart feel quite weak.
His father just crackled and smoked
and declared it a rum sort of joke
- it just wasn't proper for a growing salamander
to enjoy such unclemant weather
"its hot ashes and fire that our kind require,
rain's just not up our street.
It dampens the ardour in blazing bonfire
and wintery fireside arbour,
really, the boy must try harder.
I know - we'll send him to Etna
where the hot magma bubbles and squeaks!"
But even that legendary volcano
left Saltkiss metaphorically cold,
he only perked up when a late April shower
splashed on his crest and his feet
- he squarked with delight and made quite a sight
down the old streets of Messina
swimming at night to the locals delight
in a water-logged Roman arena.
The Italian firedrakes thought him a damp sort of squib
and the French lizards looked down their noses
"What an outlandish affair,"
they tittered behind their claws
"a Salamander dancing in the rain
and making such peculiar noises
- splashing about with his fiery tail
and sending up steam with his toeses!"
Word eventually came to the Pope
and he sent a man from the Vatican
(suitably armed against the rains unseasonal shenanagins
with stout umbrella and wellingtons).
Sure enough, there was Salamander Saltkiss
hopping and running about in a downpour
- it made the priest feel faint
but even though firedrakes are usually creatures of the devil
this one appeared to be special
and after due investigation
was made into a saint.
Saint Salamander Saltkiss
- O how his friends all guffawed;
even his somewhat traditionalist Uncle Lucifuge
heartilly slapped his armour-plated kneecaps and roared!
But alas, one wet day when Saltkiss went out to play
a sudden flash-flood swept down from the hills
and poor little Saltkiss, halo and all,
was caught up and carried away.
Naturally all the salamanders were very upset
- the Pope sent a floral bouquet -
but his Pa gave a snort and made this retort:
"He's an unco peculiar lad - I daresay he'll
be back some day."
And sure enough, come next December, when frozen winds did blow
and all the icicled firedrakes were shivering in their fire-caves
thoroughly miserable through and through
their came a sound like a tipsey dragons cry
and out of the thoroughly miserable sky
came Salamander Saltkiss,
floating on wings of gossamer white
made of cold drizzle and snow
and all the young firedrakes gave a great cheer
and shouted loudly "Yeah, far out Dude",
and "Whoa - way to go!"
What peculiar sport the villagers saw that winter
- Salamanders, young and old, engaged in snowball fights!
Steam hissing up where their should be mist and fog
cats running round like wild things and chasing frightened dogs,
surely it couldn't be right?
But as young Saltkiss had been sanctioned by the Church
there was nothing they could do
except sit back in wonder and ask if it were true?
"Surely it must be a hoax,
a delusion of steam
done with mirrors and smoke!"
And then the Mayor's son joined in the to-do
but O what a hullabaloo
when a piping hot snowball caught his papa right smack in the face
raising a blister or two.
Saint or no saint, Saltkiss held his head in shame
and had to be led away by his mortified mother
albeit on a fine gold chain.
But soon it was March and then sultry May
and Saltkiss was out every day
splashing and dancing in lovely wet rain
that lasted til early October
"If I knew that he didn't drink nothing but milk," said his Ma
"I'd swear that he just wasn't sober!"
Storm Horse's Stolen Alphabet
Storm horse pranced across the roofs
like a drunken dentist extracting tooths.
In his garret Ebeneezer Earnest Scribbler (e.e.scribbler)
gnashed his own two teeth and shuddered:
it was bad enough trying to write a sonnet
without having to listen to Storm Horse!
Scribbler stuck his head out of his window and shouted
but the wind took hold of all of his words
and tore them to bits.
A nearby weathercock tried to crow
but just ended up spinning in circles
- just which way WAS the blasted wind blowing?
He's like to say but he just didn't know!
Storm Horse whinnied, Storm Horse wept
- someone or something had crept into his stable at night
and stolen his favourite Alphabet
- the one he used to speak to Dragons!
At first he thought it might be Ned
but Ned was fast asleep in his bed.
But then he spied a trader's wagon
making furtively for the east gate of the city
and when he called out to his Alphabet it answered him,
vociferously and fastidiously:
"Ugh!" it cried, "I'm hidden under a pile of hay,
turnips to the left of me
and a cage full of chickens to the right
- I'm sure I look a dreadful sight!"
Storm Horse pelted the wagon with rain,
struck the wheels with lightning
and then did it again.
"Mercy, Guv'nor!" cried the driver,
"I didn't know the letters was yours
- I thought they were just some kiddies!"
"That just makes your theft twenty times worser,"
said Storm horse in a wretched lapse of proper grammar."
"Hand 'em over and never come back this way again... "
The trader did as he was told
and, furthermore Storm Horse fined him the six bars of gold
he found concealed about his person.
When he had settled his Alphabet back in his stable
he came and knocked at my window.
"Sorry about all that racket before," he said
"but petty thieveryt always makes me feel sore
and my hooves need a damn good workout.
Perhaps you'd like to write the tale
and nail it to a tree or two by way of public explanation."
Which is exactlt what I did
although I only narrowly escaped being fined myself,
first by a suspicious constable who thought I was drunk
and then by an irate wood-surgeon.
I asked Storm Horse if I might look at his Alphabet sometime
but he said it was written in ancient Mesopotamian
and I wouldn't be able to understand a word of it.
I'm not sure I believed him
but you don't argue with Storm Horse!
What Lovely Dreams
What lovely dreams and worlds collide
behind your gently feathered eyes
and when you open them and yawn
what visionary stars tumble and fall,
not in proud rebellion but laughter
(down the Crystal Stairs of Sleep,
a spiral corkscrew, thin and steep)
stumbling from Heaven's rafters
to stretch their limbs in languorous dawn;
and do the Gods in Heaven weep?
What lovely words and playful quips
are resting now behind your lips,
pleasant poetry of friendship and affection
whose sibling smile and gesture
rise easily to frolick and play
when with the coming of the day
consciousness returns from that far shore
where untroubled thoughts have wandered
barefoot in the celestial night
through fields of pale and fragrant flowers
that men call Heaven's starry lights?
Oh what thoughts flit through my impatient mind
as I sit and wait for you to wake,
my charming young companion of the day
asleep upon the shore of that dark lake
wherein the fish of prophecy swim
and bright-gold carp discuss the gossip of Heaven,
where Old Man Trout and silver-scaled cherubim
gently dream within the shade of moonlit willows
or lambent shallows full of stars
inbetween which fly the swallows
of the Land of Perfect Peace
where restless musings at last know ease
and troubled hearts find sweet release.
What happy hours and days we'll spend
and Seraphim will lend our fragile flesh
and feeble minds bright wings
as passing twixt the pillars of twilight
unto the base of that great Stair
that elegantly twists and winds,
we rise upon its curving gyre
and tread the shadows of the air.
'To where,' asks the Nightingale of the Tangled Forest,
'does your headlong flight of love repair?'
To where all thoughts of Love must dare!
- to Heaven's Gates and thence beyond,
to gaze upon Love's naked face
and hear Love's great, unfinished Song.
"Ah,' sighs the Nightingale plaintively
'I too have heard that lovely melody
once or twice, though indistictly;
when you return, will you pass this way again
and teach to me some new refrain
to add to that I oft times sing?
One day I too will make that longed for journey
but first I must grow stronger wings
for 'though the call of Love is light
the burden of Earth's air is heavy
and weighs upon all living things.
Farewell and God-speed, bright lovers:
follow the Song that calls from above
love one another and all mortal things
as sister and brother."
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