poetryrepairs #198 v14.03:036
JEAN HULL HERMAN : Murphy at Thanksgiving
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A veil of scarlet drops   slowly traced the contours     of a faded photograph in the rigor mortis grip      of an American boy       with a German name,          dead on a French battlefield. The soft strains of "Lili Marlene",   riffed by as Marlene Dietrich        replied to Vera Lynn's         "White Cliffs of Dover",       while the distant thunder of guns     marked the sanguinary advance       of allied armies, come to free Europe           from Hitler's Iron Fist. Paris wasn't burning,      as the Fuehrer's armies           reeled back in defeat, and the Russians       stormed into Berlin. Like World War I, this war proved again   that the war to end all wars       may come only with the Apocalypse.  

poetryrepairs #198 v14.03:036

All the fine arts are species of poetry--Samuel Taylor Coleridge

poetry repairs your heart
even as it splits it open.
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On Rhyme

What is it about rhyme? Among the oldest forms of poetry making, from Chaucer to Wordsworth and beyond, rhyme has occupied the throne of poetry in English; its queen is meter. Simply put, rhyme and meter are basic to poetry in English. That is why I say that poetryrepairs.com does not publish rhymes-- Because they are BASIC forms of poetry. But why do many poets turn to one or other or both as their only tools to the exclusion of all other possibilities in the arsenal of poetics?

It's the comfort factor.

English readers are introduced as babes to nursery rhyme and meter; children's play often relies on such meter and rhyme. From jump rope to military cadences meter and rhyme are familiar, easy to memorize, wonders of swift and adroit mockery. It feels good to hear; the sounds never truly leave us; and the patterns are comforting—we return to it often in our lives (we hear ubiquitous advertising jingles). Rhymed couplets and meter are fundamental to the protestant hymnal:

Rock of Ages/ cleft for me// let me hide/ myself in Thee.
/ - / - | / - / || / - / | - / - / ||

Protestant Hymnal rhyme is the classic couplet: AA or, if you wish, it may be varied ABCB in ¾ time, and one rhyme per stanza. It is difficult for readers of English to break out of this pervasive pattern. And those who cannot, poetryrepairs will not publish.

There are many ways to rhyme beyond full rhyme (two sound-alike words) and places to put those rhymes other than at the end of lines (end rhyme). Shakespeare uses iambic pentameter couplets to end each ACT of his plays. Couplets may take on gender (masculine rhyme or feminine rhyme); chronology (following the tenses through a series from present into future tenses or past into present tenses) or narrative tasks. Rhyme too has its specific denotations and connotations, too many to list them all (Books such as Princeton's Encyclopedia of Poetry attempt it).

A brief and not close to exhaustive list of rhyme forms may be helpful:

Assonance (vowel rhymes) and consonance (consonant rhymes);
Repeated consonants can be drawn out for alliteration ; //s// sounds repeat for sybillance ).
Slant rhyme and Approximate rhyme and Half rhymes (fall+pal and dead+shreds and table+bauble);
Light rhyme of vowel and consonant (all-pall-mall)
Eye rhyme works on sight (bough-enough-cough)
Eye rhyme (main-again) becomes a forced rhyme if pronounced "mayn" and "a'gayn";
Identical rhymes (break+wake) and internal "binder" rhyme ("supreme theme") hold together two parts of a sentence and/or line)
Pure rhyme simply repeats the same word; A "list" in the form of lines beginning or ending with pure rhyme becomes a "catalog'
And, in addition to end rhyme there is internal rhyme and initial rhyme and repetition.
A bracing rhyme begins one line then ends the next line.

Meter and rhymes are as fluid as imagination.

A poet also needs to know that a form of meter and rhyme in poetry often takes on unique or exclusive meaning: also known as the "Alexandrine", an 11 syllable pair of lines with end couplet (AA), the heroic couplet mocks the epic by humorously drawing the mundane in heroic proportions (Alexander Pope's 'Rape of the Lock" is likely the best example of this). Surely, poets recognize that a sonnet (14 lines) is about "love". But a sonnet is about love of a special kind depending upon whether it is a Modern sonnet or an Italian, or a Shakespearean, or a Miltonic Sonnet, or a sonnet by Spenser. And each form differs one from another in how it rhymes.

Now, I return to the "protestant hymnal" pattern. If the poem is not about worship, especially about Christian worship/prayer, then the "would be" poet signals that the poet does not know what he or she is doing; and, like a dirge as a wedding march, if the pattern in question does not match its purpose to the purpose of the poet it is a serious flaw at the very least.

Shakespeare uses iambic pentameter couplets to end each ACT of his plays, mostly in verse. Couplets may take on gender (masculine rhyme or feminine rhyme); chronology (following the tenses through a series from present into future tenses or past into present tenses) or many other narrative tasks. As does Shakespeare, great writers invent their own style/s of rhyme to fit their own purposes and thereby lend their names to specific forms (especially true of sonnets -Miltonic, Petrarchen, Sharkespearean, and Spencerian and the modern who no one seems to claim). Sonnets are about love (dy forms of meter and of rhyme have purposes of their own (as I note above, but it's worth repeating)).

Thus, poems are not simply memories nor ideas nor dreams made into meter and rhyme. Forms have purpose; and, purpose is shown also through mechanics including but not limited to meter and rhyme.

Computers make possible reading in poetry of other cultures than our own (if translated, many of these forms and devices may survive). Globally, there is an astounding variety of non-rhyming poetic devices and forms that are favored. It behooves a creative poet to read through and attempt to replicate such forms and devices for a more international flavor. The "novel" is primarily Spanish; Ezra Pound adapted the canto; certain forms of story telling tragedy and comedy from Greek. From characterisation to stereotypes and archetypes, writers in English have adopted and adapted broadly and sucessfully.

But first, a poet should know the rules of poetry in order to break them responsibly and meaningfully. Any break ("turn" or "volta") in a pattern signals a reader that something is happening, or is about to happen, and what follows the break is important for the reader to note.

Mature readers know this.

poetryrepairs #198 v14.03:036

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Murphy at Thanksgiving
"Old Dogs May Have Taught Man Essential Tricks." --Michael Christie, Reuters, 3/26/02
These holidays-so annoying. I no sooner have everything back in place From the last time-Cats out of my way, Humans feeding me those fine table bits, Sleeping soundly again…. Until: it's Party Time, which will mean Guests, Which means no dogs. That would be me. Bad Murphy. Down, Murphy. Sit, Murphy. Go. Come. Fetch. Leave that alone. How's a respectable retriever to know what to do? It's my house all the other days-I've marked it about quite nicely. I'm very territorial, and I don't like intruders. Sometimes I dream of running with Others. Sometimes I dream of teaching my residents tricks- Interesting idea, isn't it: that dogs taught humans How to survive when they were Outside? If I ran my house, I'd be sure they knew how to greet me properly, How to manage as they feed me, touch me if they want affection. And not hover when I want might want some privacy. Don't they know how embarrassing it is to some of us, That constant watching? Peeping? Do it, do it, do it. Did you do it? Good boy. Oh, please! Hey, I was ready to do it inside- It was your idea to drag me out here. Not every dog wants to do everything in front of any old body. Get a TV! Tune in the Animal Channel-I'd like that! I could lie around, Get to see some friends, canines, dogs who look like me. Ah, for the days that come in my nightly dreams, When I run with my brethren wolves, hunt and kill. These people never let me kill anything. Just one bird or mouse, and it's right back to "Bad Murphy." I don't get it: They don't kill those birds themselves anymore. They don't dig up the plants they cook. So how come I'm considered underfoot, unhelpful? All I want to do is what I used to do, what I should do! Well, all these unknown humans will go away. I just have to wait. Maybe I can find a new place to leave my mark. And I can always eat more cake.

poetryrepairs #198 v14.03:036

Poetry endangers the established order
of the soul - Plato

REPAIR: resort, frequent or habitual going; concourse or confluence of people at or in a place; making one's way; to go, betake oneself, to arrive; return to a place; to dwell; to recover, heal, or cure; to renew; to fix to original condition.
-- Oxford English Dictionary

The following text is a transcription from the first ten amendments to the Constitution in their original form. These amendments were ratified December 15, 1791, and form what is known as the "Bill of Rights."

Amendment III
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
Article III, section 2, of the Constitution was modified by amendment 11.
The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State


JEAN HULL HERMAN : Murphy at Thanksgiving

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