In the midst of free-verse critics’
Smug, inchoate analytics
__Seasoned with self-righteous pedantry,
There are poets who are striving
To achieve success reviving
__Classical and formal poetry.

Hail the Muse of Mount Parnassus!
Apuleius’ Golden Ass is
__Overshadowed by Homeric verse.
Celebrate the works of Horace,
Aeschylus and Grecian Chorus,
__Virgil even sounds good in reverse!

Shakespeare, Milton, Coleridge, Dryden,
Shelly, Tennyson, Lord Byron
__Wordsworth, Browning, Johnson, Keats, and Poe
Chaucer, Spencer, Wilde, Rosetti,
Kipling, Keats and Phillip Sydney
__Famous poets everyone should know.

Sonnet, ode, quatrain, sestina,
Triolet and terza rima—
__Elegy, pantoum, and roundelay,
Cinquain, villanelle and rondeau,
Epigram and ovillejo,
__Forms that poets use to have their say.

Narrative or episodic,
Poetry should be rhapsodic,
__Whether it amuses or inspires.
Rhythmic meter’s perfect timing
When combined with perfect rhyming
__Sparks a flame drawn from celestial fires.

Substantive, profound, or Pyrrhic
Tender, militant, or lyric,
__Formal poetry, like music, sings
Never tedious or boring
Poems should, instead, be soaring,
__Lifting us to heaven on muses’ wings.

So then, gentle reader, heed me,
If I were a poem, read me,
__Savor my rhapsodic melody.
Then into your heart invite me,
With both rhyme and rhythm write me,
__And submit me to the SCP!*


*Society of Classical Poets



James A. Tweedie is a recently retired pastor living in Long Beach, Washington. He likes to walk on the beach with his wife. He has written and self-published four novels and a collection of short stories. He has several hundred unpublished poems tucked away in drawers.

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The Society of Classical Poets does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments.


5 Responses

  1. Sally Cook

    Dear James –
    Very nice ! Poetry binds us all together, and creates a civilized point of view. Without poetry we are lesser, duller; more like Darwin’s apes.
    Destrroying form in poetry and the figurative in painting is like cutting off your nose to spite your face. What’s the point? To me, the purpose of such inanity is to make us less, not more, and that is evil. Krrp at it!

  2. Julian D. Woodruff

    This is splendid, Mr. Tweedie—
    Sweetest music for the needy
    Ears of folks a-starving on free verse.

    Use those formes fixes or amend ‘em,
    Disassemble or extend ‘em.
    Rhyme and Rhythm, help us lift the curse

    Of self-centered, self-contented
    Belchings, often half demented,
    Cooked up in some verbal bakery

    Where opacity is valued,
    False profundity is ballyhooed—
    Smug and arbitrary fakery.

  3. James A. Tweedie

    An inspired response, Mr. Woodruff. And thank you for rhyming my name with something besides, weedy, greedy, seedy, or yes indeedy.

  4. Rod Walford

    Thank you James I enjoyed reading “In praise” and I have to say I enjoyed Julian’s response too! I was thrilled to see you made mention of Lord Byron. The somewhat self-righteous free verse brigade won’t like it of course but then I imagine they will only see it if they’ve come to SCP to learn how to write real poetry. Well done Sir!

  5. Sultana Raza

    Mr Tweedie’s poem is one of the most significant poems on the state of poetry today. It was much needed and well said! Also, Julian Woodruff’s response though a bit tongue in cheek, is well-written and relevant as well.


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