Carrying a Torch for Rhyme

Rhyming is out, some poets say
You can’t express yourself that way
For when you try for perfect rhyme
With metered words and rhythmic time
It’s writing to a metronome
You lose the essence of the poem

A poem that you can understand
They say, is obsolete and bland
To be considered literature
A poem must be abstruse, obscure
And metaphorical and tense
It’s not intended to make sense

True freedom lies in untamed verse
And order is a poet’s curse
They say, it’s disconnected thought
For poetry cannot be taught
It’s bits of love and bites of rage
It’s madness in a broken cage

I’m sorry but I disagree
They just don’t know their history
Have they read Donne and Poe and Yeats?
Do they think Wordsworth’s words weren’t great?
And A.A. Milne, and Dr. Seuss
Do they consider them obtuse?

I love to read great poetry
With rhythm, rhyme, and symmetry
Whose words can put me in a trance
Can make me cry or want to dance
A ryhming poem cannot be wrong
When, put to music, it’s a song


My Muse

My muse is not amusing and she can be confusing
This goddess of the literary arts
She says, “You know it’s funny, but you won’t make much money
Till you’ve endured a few more broken hearts.”

It keeps on getting tougher; how much more must I suffer
before someone discovers that I’m here?
Ten thousand words? A million? Or even several billion?
She says, “Perhaps, but you must persevere.”

“With every single letter your writing will get better.
Just write and write and write until you drop.
Your writing must be witty; your story bold and gritty
So practice day and night and never stop.”

She doesn’t have much patience. Does not allow vacations
She tells me, “If your goal is to be great
You just cannot stop writing; there is no sense in fighting
for authorship has always been your fate.”

I’m not her only student so it would be imprudent
to think her words are meant for me alone
She praises all the others, their sisters and their brothers
And every other writer I have known

She says, “Now write a sonnet and put your heart upon it
and I will place some thoughts into your pen
Begin at the beginning and when your mind starts spinning
Relax and smile for that’s where I come in.”

In spite of all her preaching, the lessons that she’s teaching
propel me like a toy that she would wind
She’s like a drug I’m taking but even if I’m faking
I will not stop until I’ve lost my mind

Although I’ve never said it my Muse gets all the credit
I must admit that she is heaven-sent
She may be quite sadistic but she makes me artistic
and one day you’ll be seeing me in print


Independent Love

Apparently you think that I can
always be controlled
That I will gladly wait on you
and do as I am told

You seem to think that any time
you want me I’ll be there
to honor, love, and comfort you
and show you that I care

You think that our relationship
is one of give and take
But you’re mistaken if you think
that love’s a piece of cake

For we are very different
in our philosophy
You’ll never be the boss, you
have no power over me

I love the way you touch me and
I like the things you do
But I know what I want, and
when I want it—not like you

And even though we share a bed
and cuddle every night
I might not be beside you in
the early morning light

I won’t go get your slippers and
I’ll never clean your house
I won’t obey and cherish you
Like some devoted spouse

I don’t belong to you—I don’t
belong to anyone
My goals in life are sleeping, eating,
playing, having fun

You’ll take me on my terms, or not
at all, and that is that
You’re fine but I am splendid
After all, I am a Cat


Embree is a lifelong poet and writes short stories, word quizzes, and magazine articles. She lives in Southern California.

These poems are among the entries for the Society of Classical Poets’ 2012 Poetry Competition.

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