All Poets Can Do

I have become infatuated with this five line form I first encountered a week ago today. It really is a wonderful creative writing exercise. I have written several, not all published on this blog. What exercises the brain is the quotation that begins the short poem. Believe it or not,  I have lugged a 1979 edition of the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations with me through three countries. Unlike hunting on the internet you can dive in and take a lucky dip and seemwhat your brain can make of it. It becomes a kind of tool for bibliomancy. (I also wonder at the skill and attention to detail of the manual indexing done before computers were the tool available to every clerk and office worker in the world. There are nearly four hundred pages of index to navigate the 589 pages of quotations! I salute the stalwart soul who carried out that task for the Oxford University Press.) 

But  before I share with you the Poetry Daily, let me remind you how the poem is formed.

  1. A quote
  2. Something about the past
  3. An action
  4. The theme
  5. The future

The lucky dip yielded a line from Wilfred Owens poem Anthem for Doomed Youth.  For those unacquainted with Wilfred Owen, he was a British poet who served through World War I. He died literally days before the Armistice was signed on 11 November 1918. He nearly made it back to Blighty. I was photographing the poppies that we have sowed in a wildflower meadow in our garden yesterday. The red poppy is worn in England for remembrance on Armistice Day each year. So it seemed as if Owen was calling me.

All Poets Can Do

All poets can do is warn…

But bards are not so elevated these days.

Nor can a Cassandra’s foresight prevent harm.

Yet we persevere and persist to portray.

Evil’s resisted with the might of wordplay.

Copyright 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.

Try the form! Like haiku and senryu it is short, but also offers layers of complexity. It may prove to be just as habit forming.

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