I’m going to do something I hate, or at least I’m not supposed to do. I’m writing a second blog today, not long, in fact, after the first. When someone follows my blogs, I often take a look at theirs to see if they interest me. One of them today struck me, well, in many ways I’m hoping he won’t read this one (because he followed TCoA), but if he does, well, I hope he will take this as it is intended, as a starting point.
His quest is similar to many others, writing the perfect poem, not that unlike writing the perfect blog. Most of his poetry is beautiful, although he tags it haiku. Does that make it perfect? Does it make it bad if it really isn’t haiku. (3/5/3 or 5/7/5) I tag anything that is 5/7/5 haiku (a nature poem), even if it is really senyru (not about nature, and sometimes cynical or funny), or neither. It doesn’t really matter, even though I’m a stickler for accuracy.
What makes the perfect poem?
Oddly, for me, it is imperfection. Sometimes breaking all the rules results in the greatest art. My friend, K, writes quirky prose that thrives on alliteration, internal rhyme, misspellings, and made up words. The latter is what makes it so poetic and endearing. Because I’m a little OCD about spelling, grammar, and things like that, I find it so hard to do that. Even in my streams of consciousness, I try to make my endless sentences just that – grammatically correct, or nearly so. Sometimes that is impossible because I’ve written myself into a hole. I’m not allowed to change something after I’ve written it, except to correct errors. Even when there aren’t rules, I create them, and I follow them.
Does beauty make perfection, or does perfection make beauty?
Neither. Beauty is entirely separate. Ugly can be perfect. I don’t strive for beauty in my poetry. I’ve written a whole piece about bathing in cum. I can’t call that beautiful. It’s not perfect either, but it did make an impact when I wrote it.
Having said all that, if you are writing a villenelle, or a rondeau, or anything that has a set metric or rhyming scheme, you need to follow the rules. If you write rhyming poetry, you should be aware of certain things, like meter and stress. Don’t half follow the rules. Song lyrics are different, because you can force meter and stress in the music. However, you should still be aware of them. In A Golden Sea, I attempted to write bad rhyming poetry as song lyrics. It appears in The Fantastical Adventures of S-69 Lost, when the 21st century protagonist finds herself in the 25th century and needs to improvise a song to cover up a lie. If I say so myself, it is oddly effective, partly because when I wrote it, I was conscious of meter. Most lines of the verses have 4-7 syllables, and end with a 5 syllable line. The first two are 6/7/5/4 and 6/5/5/4. Later verses bloat a little in the third and fourth lines. Is it perfect? No. It is intentionally imperfect. The form of the song, with refrains and bridges seem to make it alright. In fact, after The Rite of Spring, it is one of the most popular of my poems. Why? I don’t know. Some of the rhymes are false, too.
The bottom line.
Who cares if it is perfect, if it conveys the sentiment that you are looking for. If it is the truth from your soul that you wish to express. It doesn’t even need to be good.
It just has to be written.
(And it doesn’t hurt if you put a pretty picture on top.)