I absolutely hate using the word “poet” to describe myself. It’s always just struck me as very snobby and haughty, considering how I have no legitimacy to support that title. But as someone who has been seriously writing/attempting to write poetry for about six years now, it’s kind of crazy that I’ve never tried meter. To be fair, that’s mostly because I’ve avoided meter, thinking that any sort of constrained writing would stifle creativity. Despite spending literally years upon years of my life reading and writing poetry, I’ve never bothered to actually figure out how meter works.
So I guess it’s a good thing that my Intro to Poetry teacher finally forced us to study rhythm and meter in poetry. I was reluctant at first, but hey, I took this class because I wanted to learn more about poetry. Although I don’t ever plan on being much of a formalist, I guess I can see how meter would give a poem a sense of musicality. It also explains why sometimes I would spend days on a single line of a poem, frustrated being “it just sounds…off”. And so, I present, my first ever attempt at metered poetry.
I found the following prompt online: “If you don’t think you can write anapestic tetrameter on your own, take a line from Seuss and change all the nouns and verbs.”
A verse from Seuss:
In a kitchen fantastic, in the dead of night
An egg-frying ghost, gave me a terrible fright.
Transparent, and shimmery, and nearly not there
He flipped the eggs with one hand while munching a pear.
He read from, “On Writing,” by the great Stephen King
And had just turned the page when I heard the toast ding.
I did two modified versions, the first one was directly changed nouns and verbs, the second one was more deviant:
On a park bench fantastic, in the heat of day
A dog-walking ghost fed me a nasty filet.
Seventeen, and glittery, and almost not there
She held the leash with one hand while punching a bear.
She drank from a soda, by the great Cola king
And had just killed the bear when I heard the dog sing.
In a lemon so sour, at the peak of dawn
the cursed juice brightened and shouted “so long!”
comprehend did the fruit, she shed a small tear,
the teardrop, was it shaped like a pear?
poor little friend, she cried; did not sing
she was lemonade, yellow in spring.
Poetry guys. Symbolism. Nature. All that good stuff.