Against Free Verse

Free verse poetry.
Find hard to take seriously
the idea that breaking thoughts into
unmeasured and untested
lines of profundity
-scare quotes - air quotes -
makes those thoughts
those words
those random jiberjaberings
More lucid.
More profound.
More meaningful.
Most of all
more artful.

There is art and music
in the language of prose
and rhythm that rises
(as everyone knows).

But too many poets
(I loosely so call)
just write down some words
and don’t edit at all.

Don’t make the words sing,
don’t make the tongue dance-
which language will do
if just given a chance.

If your words be not measured
so what of your thoughts?
We all have opinions
(myself? I have lots!)

But one or another one’s
thoughts are equivalent
in value, in worth-
which leaves me ambivalent

How can I know
that your thoughts are worth hearing,
if my heart is not jumping,
my eyes never tearing?

The music of God
is in all living things
and a rational, beautiful thought?
Well- it sings!

It sings whether rhyming
it sings whether prose
Or silent, or painted,
or danced on your toes.

But do not expect me
to care for your “poem”
Those salads of wordles,
I don’t want to know ‘em.

I’m not saying free verse
is always so awful
but it seems the untalented
spew it by jaw-full.

So go and relearn
the old forms of the past
then come back and make us
some song that will last.

Or else don’t inflict us
insisting “it’s art”
(The sixties are over.
I don’t give a fart!)

And when you have poemed
or danced or composed
when you haved painted
or sculpted, or prosed

some object of beauty
instrinsic of worth
that needs no explaining
of context of birth

please, then, let us see it
or hear or whate’er-
I’ll want to enjoy it,
be glad it is there.

We need more creation
by artists- by you!
we need something diff’rent
we need something new.

But we don’t need the
relativistic assertion
champeened by the thugs
of collegiate coercion

that art is whatever you
want it to be.
(This is patently stupid.)
A child can see

that some things are better
and some things are worse.
And some things don’t rise
to the level of “verse.”

No you don’t have to rhyme,
And it’s not like there’s rules
but the language of English
has so many tools

to bring out the beauty
of all that you say
to focus the mind
in an orderly way

or even to let
the chaotic take flight
if that is your goal,
then that is your right.

All I’m saying is
random profundity’s lame,
it all is so shallow,
it all seems the same.

So why should I care
what you bothered to type
if it bears an uncanny
resemblance to tripe?

At least make me want to
indulge for a bit
in the thoughts you have thunk
and the writes you have writ.

Attract me, romance me,
oh woo me and then-
I will come, I will read you
again and again.

For the road to the mind
and the soul is the heart.
If that’s where you would end,
this is where you must start.

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