Rhythm and Rhyme Workshop

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Lee Ann Schaffer Female, 53, United States (4/6/2005 10:45:00 AM)

I've done two versions of a poem, and would like to hear some feedback on which one ends up being the stronger, more effective one. By the way, I don’t intend any offence at all, but I’m really not interested in judgments passed on the sentiment, worthiness of subject matter, etc. It would make more sense if those comments were to appear with the final product in my poems that I’ve posted on my own pages. I simply want to know how the structure impacts the effect. Any comments in this regard will be greatly appreciated.

Version I

What is it that makes me
Love the leaning tree?
It slants so low that
My dachshund climbs it without
Creating many degrees of angle
To the close ground below.

It doesn’t look as a tree should;
Those whose erect majesty
Evoke admiration or
At least benign neglect,
Ignored because they are
As they “should be”

Its silhouette shapes
The letter S, though one that’s
Fallen almost on its fanny.
That letter is my own initial.
It’s me, that fallen figure
That’s not yet flat.

What malicious armies
Tried to lay it so low?
How many tempests,
Deluges building
Soil roiling,
Forceful floods?

Its roots are still
Well grounded;
Strong, firm, and
Wide spreading.
Its branches and leaves
Grasp at sun and stars.

It’s the tree
That simply
Refuses to give up;
That’s bent,
Never broken,
That I want to be.

Version II
What is it makes me love the leaning tree?
It slants so low my dachshund climbs without
Creating angle with a large degree
To ground so close below and spread about.

It doesn’t look as trees are meant to look;
Those who inspire through erect majesty
Or beg benign neglect be undertook,
Ignored because they are as they “should be”

Its silhouette, the shape of letter S,
Though one that on its fanny almost fell;
Initial that should fit on me the best.
A fallen figure, not yet flat, can tell.

Malicious armies tried to lay it low.
Came many tempests shaking more than buds;
The winds that pulled the roots that sought to grow;
Deluges building, roiling soil in forceful floods.

Its roots are still well grounded, firm, and strong;
They spread much wider than the wind could reach.
It sends its leaves and branches up like song
To heaven bound to thank and to beseech.

It is the strength the leaning tree displays,
Defiant in the face of all the trials,
That makes me lift my feet on stormy days;
I can have hope that I can walk the miles.

Along the way some solace can I take
In knowing that my prayers will blessings bring.
Then after storms that bent but did not break,
To all the gods my song of thanks I’ll sing.

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  • Rookie Leanna Stead (4/12/2005 11:56:00 AM) Post reply
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    I personally lean towards Version II as the stronger poem in terms of rhythm, expression, and tone. While the first is well executed, its broken lines indicative of an almost jagged meter. It is also less concise than its counterpart. Version II, by contrast, allows for an intuitive appreciation of flow, meter, and internal rhythm that fully supports the apparent goal of the composition. It possesses a naturally majestic tone, one that leaves a persistent impression even after the reading is complete.

    I really, really like this work. I'm very much looking forward to seeing the finished product!

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