Writing a Poem

Our planet moves, and so do we,
By forces that we cannot see.
Rhyme, meter always seem to track
The rhythm of the planet. Lack
Of sense or sensibility
Inhibits our ability
To see. In every fervent verse—
Loquacious, moderate, or terse—
Rhyme glues meter where it should
Be glued. The best of poets could
Unleash spasmodic movement when
Not in their normal state, but then
As darkness turns again to day
They speak, to keep the dark away.



A former Wilbur Fellow and six-time Pushcart nominee, Sally Cook is a regular contributor to National Review, and has appeared in venues as varied as Chronicles, Lighten Up On Line, and TRINACRIA. Also a painter, her present works in the style known as Magic Realism are represented in national collections such as the N.S.D.A.R. Museum in Washington, D.C. and The Burchfield-Penney, Buffalo, NY.

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15 Responses

  1. AB Brown

    Lovely. Am guessing free verse, then, is the equivalent of the asteroid belt?

    And bad free verse…black holes?

    • Joseph S. Salemi

      Since the asteroid belt is just a lot of floating garbage, I guess it’s a good equivalent of most free verse. Would that the great bulk of it went down a black hole.

      A very nice poem, Sally.

      • Sally Cook

        Joe, The thought that this poem pleases you makes my day brighter.

    • Sally Cook

      AB, it’s so nice to hear from you. Yes, that’s where free verse resides, and all other overblown, strident things.

    • Sally Cook

      To AB:
      PS – Well, my computer is at it again. I couldn’t make it stick as a reply to you, but see it has now partially relented and sent itself to Joe S. Sorry !

    • Sally Cook

      Thanks, Michael. for reminding us that humor is a good remedy for brightening dark.

  2. James Sale

    Lovely, Sally, I am reminded of Joachim-Ernst Berendt: ‘There are powers above and shapes written in the sky which sound in your own soul, which concern you most vitally, and which belong to the Godhead as much as do you in your innermost self’ .

    • sally cook

      Is this a quote, James, or are they your own graceful words? In any case, many thanks.
      James, I am not familiar with this poet’s work, but will look him up.

      • James Sale

        Yes, Sally, it is a quotation from Joachim-Ernst Berendt’s great book: The World is Sound. Everything is resonating!

  3. Margaret Coats

    Excellent concept, Sally. The regularity of our planet’s motion corresponds to rhyme and meter. Day and night and years and seasons go on regularly, caused by rhythmic unseen forces, despite a little extra warmth on earth’s surface, attributable to the violence of the sun’s surface activity since 1975. But we have noticed no spasmodic activity suggesting an abnormal state of the planet. Poets, like planets, speak sensibly and not spastically when they regularly turn to keep the dark away. I agree that the very process of composition in regular meter turns on a light!

    • Sally Cook

      Margaret, I know you have, as I do, a very good idea what it means to have people who understand what one is saying in a poem. This is the place and you are one of the people.

      I always look forward to your sensitive, sensible comments. Thank you for these.

  4. Shaun C. Duncan

    It’s an intriguing idea to link form to the cosmic order, particularly since the crusaders against form have always claimed to be doing so in the name of naturalism. It’s telling that the subject of so much of their so-called poetry is the celebration of disorder. Perhaps this is why in my own work, which is often also about disorder of some sort, I’ve always felt it was important to be extremely precise in terms of meter, rhyme and form, even to the detriment of the narrative. I’d never been able to put my finger on exactly why I felt this way, but I think your poem goes some way to answering the question.

    I particularly like your use of enjambment between the fine, strong opening and closing couplets – it seems particularly fitting given the subject matter.

    • Sally Cook

      A brilliant comment, Shaun. Did I do that? If so, I am happy to have done it.
      Wow! Thank you so much for such a well expressed compliment.

      To put in more terse terms, It’s not climate change, it’s just weather!

  5. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Sally, I love this multi-layered poem. It appeals to me initially with its mellifluous beauty and admirable craft… but then, there’s the intrigue… that connection with the cosmos… that something otherworldly that adds wonder to the words. Only you can do this, and I thoroughly appreciate your inspiration.


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