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Paul Hartal


No Rhyme, But Reason


‘Poems are like cathedrals', she said.
‘They are constructed from bricks made
of words. And similarly to great poems,
a building does not become a cathedral
by the number of bricks it comprises.
It becomes a cathedral by the way that
the bricks are put together. In poetry,
like in architecture, the whole is bigger
than the sum of its parts.'

He frowned at her and shook his head.
‘Do you think that saying this constitutes
great poetry? There is no rhyme here,
and as to reason, these ideas are neither
new, nor original.'

‘Oh, I don't think that I have to live up
to your pompous expectations of
formalist poesy', she said. ‘Besides,
I don't believe that the quality of
a poem depends on rhyme or meter.
I like to follow the musical rhythm of
natural speech, celebrating irregular
cadences, patterns and structures,
the inherent beauty and grace of prose.'

‘T.S. Eliot noted long ago', she said,
‘that there is no such thing as free verse.
There is only good verse and bad verse
and chaos. Also, the roots of "vers libre"
are deep and outspread. Poets, such as,
Goethe, Heine, Rimbaud and Dickinson
Broke away from formalism. And mind
you, Walt Whitman's long lines were
inspired by the poetic phrasing of
Psalms in the King James Bible.'

‘I admit, though', she said, tongue in
cheek, ‘that I took all the words from
my old dictionary. So, they are not
original at all. Moreover, original
thoughts don't really exist because
all ideas are basically recycled beliefs.
There is nothing new under the sun.
There are only old men and women.
To a newborn baby everything is new! '

Submitted: Monday, March 18, 2013

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