The Poetaster’s Plight

Some think the poet’s work is ease:
“Sit back and write it’s such a breeze;”

But those that know will surely say
They labor hard from day to day.

They wrestle with each turn of phrase,
Constructing forms in different ways.

A quote, a comma, where to place
To space or not could bring disgrace.

You see you’re writing for the ages,
Competing with so many sages.

The pressure is I hate to say
Enough to make one turn away.

Abandoning this noble task,
It’s risk for me, too much to ask;

For poetry is my life’s pursuit,
Without it now I can’t compute.

So struggle on I’m sure I will
Until I find that word t’will fill,

Completing what I need to say
At least for one more harried day.



Kenneth L. Horne is an emerging poet in Colorado.

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17 Responses

  1. Paul Freeman

    That was great fun, Kenneth – and so true.

    Just a little thing. Each line seems to have seen syllables except ‘For poetry is my life’s pursuit’, which could easily be ‘For poetry’s my life’s pursuit’.

    Thanks for a much needed diversion.

    • Dr Richard Craven

      I noticed that too. Three solutions present themselves:-
      1) Elide “is” with an apostrophe.
      2) Treat “poet” as a monosyllable, as when “over” is replaced by “o’er”.
      3) Don’t worry about it. Appeal to poetic licence.

      And I agree with your overall assessment. It was fun indeed.

  2. Roy Eugene Peterson

    You captured the plight and perseverance of all aspiring poets including the trepidation and the chosen pursuit anyway. Struggle on is so fitting.

  3. C.B Anderson

    Sometimes I like to shoot the shit
    And exercise my mordant wit,

    But when I try to write some verse
    I contemplate the wounds I nurse,

    Inflicted by those editors
    Who mimic toothless predators.

    Good poetry should also (if strung out in proper paragraphs) be good prose. If one can turn that prose into poetry, then so much the better. Some key elements are: crisp diction, effective punctuation and logical coherence.

  4. Satyananda Sarangi


    Good sense of humour. With more writing, you will have greater command over diction and cadence.

    Thank you.

      • Satyananda Sarangi

        My comment above is in no way an indication that the poet doesn’t have the requisite command. The mention of the word “emerging” in the bio made me believe that he has started writing. Speaking from my experience, I know how skilled one needs to be in order to write poetry.

  5. Cynthia Erlandson

    Yeats puts it quite succinctly: “A line may take us hours maybe, / Yet if it does not seem a moment’s thought/ Our stitching and unstitching has been naught.”

  6. Adrian Fillion

    Good one, Kenneth. I consider myself a dabbler in poetry, but I can really relate to your poem. “I spent all morning taking out a comma and all afternoon putting it back.” Attributed to Oscar Wilde.


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