Poetic Forms

 

The first poem that I ever published in my long and futile “career” as a writer was in my high school (LAS) literary magazine in 1972. That was in Lahore, and the magazine was called “Angles of Vision”. It went like this.

 

Never With One

 

The dark black sky lay above,

lit by countless worlds of light.

The soft cool earth beneath,

with countless worlds of darkness.

A man lay in between,

one with both though never with one.

Breezes of the night cannot still this troubled

brain.

Life can solve it perhaps in time

and death will solve it when the time comes.

And he waits, never with one, always in between.

As time passes men will see

that this is the way it has to be.

As he waits, never with one, always in between.

 

This was written when I was 17 years old. I graduated from high school and went off to college. One of the requirements for freshmen at WSU was English 101, basic writing and reading skills. I needed all the help I could get, and I probably still do. Anyway, to make a short story long, we had to write an introductory page about ourselves; I like to think of it as a “What did I do over my summer vacation” paper. I think everybody gets one of those in their life. In the reality of teaching, it was probably just for the teacher to assess what each student needed to be addressed to get them through college. Well, at least try.

This popped into my head and I wrote it down.

 

*

 

The dark black sky lay above, lit by countless worlds of light. The soft cool earth beneath, with countless worlds of darkness. A man lay in between, one with both though never with one. Breezes of the night cannot still this troubled brain.

Life can solve it perhaps in time and death will solve it when the time comes. And he waits, never with one, always in between. As time passes men will see that this is the way it has to be. As he waits, never with one, always in between.

 

*

 

It is the same poem, in a different form.

The teacher’s comment was something like “Ah, a prose poem.” I did very well in that class, probably because I liked what I was doing. But I had never heard of a prose poem. I did not get back to that form until I took a poetry class in the early 80s. I was introduced to many forms that I had not seen before, or at least had not realized that they were that type of poem. I have done much experimenting since then.

I guess this story is my advice to young writers everywhere: experiment! Do not settle into one form, or genre too soon. You never know where life’s journey is going to take you. At the beginning of my senior year of high school, I was going to be an artist. Then I figured out that I cannot draw. But with a typewriter, and brain, a lone human should be able to earn a living. That was before the personal computer, and again I was naïve. Hundreds of paper submissions through the mail, hundreds of rejection slips. There are probably many publications in my portfolio, but nothing that made a publisher notice.   I have held down “wage-slave” jobs all my life. Funny thing life.

With this new technology, and the web, each person out there is capable of changing the world with their words. It will still be a fight, and there are no guarantees, but if you take the path and keep walking it, never give up; you might be able to get somebody to sit up and take notice. The real battle in everything, is the battle with the self, always. Just keep plugging away at what you like, or need to do. If it is the right path, you will be doing it until the day you die, and if you believe certain schools of thought, far longer.

Thanks for reading and following! I hope this does somebody out there some good.

 

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About johnsmithiiimxiii

John Smith, IIMXIII is the avatar of an award winning poet, artist, etc. who still lives in the Palouse country of the Pacific NW. He has not received much notice with his prose . . . but as his avatar, I hope that he keeps plugging along.

6 responses to “Poetic Forms”

  1. yassy says :

    Thanks for this.

    Like

  2. johnsmithiiimxiii says :

    You’re most welcome.

    Like

  3. Ava Goodman says :

    This was a very interesting read, thank you for sharing your experience and words of wisdom

    Like

  4. jamaniju says :

    Thank you for encouraging me to keep on experimenting 😛

    Like

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