Source: Canva


exploring the rules by which we live and die—
my attempt at the Poetry Structure Challenge, Part 2

(Click on an image to read the poem as a separate story.)

Overwhelmed by the possibilities of writing without the structure of form, I chose instead to write about structure.
We build structure and repetition into our daily lives, committing to rituals that suited the needs of earlier generations.
The Horatian Ode is a highly flexible form because it can take whatever shape you like, so long as you’re consistent from stanza to stanza. It’s usually devoted to praising someone or something, but here I use the form satirically. I mix it up with a refrain, so it’s a bit like a Kyrielle or Roundelay, and merged the middle lines to create a link that suits the story.
Education is a noble goal and, apparently, school is the place to do it. When I did Judo, my sensei told me that until I earned my black belt, I was only learning how to learn. I like to think that’s the goal of school, but mostly I learned how to remember and recall. And how to do the same things over and over, wondering what for.
“Write a verse.” So simple, so vague: am I to write “(1) a line of metrical writing, (2) a stanza, or (3) any composition written in meter”. Or, according to Poets’ Graves: “Verse…is often used to refer to work of a slightly lower standard than ‘poetry’.” I use the Rational Wiki meaning of “woo”: a term for pseudoscientific explanations that share certain…characteristics, often being too good to be true (aside from being unscientific)…dressing itself in the trappings of science (but not the substance) while involving unscientific concepts, such as anecdotal evidence and sciencey-sounding words.
Poetry Magnum Opus said I could use this form for narrative, commentary or burlesque poetry, so I went for all three, a bastardised style somewhere between colloquialism and legalese. Separations suck, and solicitors are great when one of the parties is really nasty, but they’re an expensive pain in the you-know-what if you just want a simple, amicable split.
Wikipedia: The “democracy sausage” is a colloquial name given to the Australian tradition of holding a fundraising sausage sizzle at polling places on election day. (Continued in the next image.)
I found four different references for the “correct” way to end a terza rima (a couplet, a single line, a reversed tercet, or a linked tercet) and ended up picking the one I liked best…because I really wanted to get one more line in.
Both order and chaos have always been easy to see on a local scale; now they are increasingly visible on a global scale.
Could everyone who wants to “protect the sanctity of marriage” by denying certain couples the opportunity to exchange vows please redirect their efforts to these ridiculous reality TV shows that marry complete strangers?
When I first drafted this, I opened with “Man: woman’s oppressor.” But it’s not true — our patriarchal society expects men to act a certain way, too, and that way silences men from expressing what we arbitrarily define as “soft, feminine emotions.” When we force anyone to conform to these gender “norms”, we limit their potential. This poem is dedicated to all the children, women, and men striving to go beyond traditional gender roles.
Echo verse is simple form that’s surprisingly difficult to use. I did my best to blend red tape and seduction.
I thought it was my dream job until I realised they were still paying me half the market rate, 15 months later…
Poetry Magnum Opus says “Pastoral Verse is a genre of poetry that describes the beauties of an imaginary or idyllic life in the country.” Granted, I chose a rather unusual “country”, but rural Queensland doesn’t offer the same ideal…and the reef fits much better with my overarching theme of “structure”.
The Villanelle was the first refrain form I tried…and fell in love with. I was delighted to see her on the challenge list.
This syllabic form often makes a nice triangle, but I seem to have built a yacht, which I think is appropriate for a poem about multi-level marketing scams selling “wellness” and telling me that I’m unhappy and I’ve only got myself to blame. Some wellness gurus and financially free people didn’t notice that it was satire, and started following me on Instagram.
The closing quote you get when you can’t be bothered with a closing quote.