Satire Poetry posted December 7, 2022

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Homage to free verse poets (with a bit of tongue in cheek)

What Real Poets Know

by Jim Wile

It’s free verse I must master if I want to be a poet.
For “Rhymers” lack the necessary skills—we just don’t know it.
We think that rhyme’s the best way to communicate with words,
But we don’t know what “Freevers” know: That concept’s just absurd!

They say that rhyming’s limiting; it forces me to choose…
Some words I may not really want, for fear that I will lose…
The rhythm and the cadence—unnecessary chores—
That force me down a narrow path, the “Freevers” all abhor.

And try to end a quatrain line with words like “bulb” or “orange.”
I only can approximate the rhymes with “hub” or “flange.”
Why must I tie myself in knots, just to make it rhyme?
When free verse offers me the chance to mitigate the crime…

Of choosing words that fail to say exactly what I mean,
And offer me but little hope my audience will glean…
The point that I am trying to make. It’s time I must retool.
So, I’ll attempt to write a poem without the stringent rules.

Let’s see if I can conjure one without reverting back…
To rhyming, which the “Freevers” say will make me just a hack.
I promise not to make a rhyme. I’ll swear off meter too.
And then I’ll see if what the “Freevers” say is really true.

Here goes:
Higher Duty

There lies
the fair maiden.
Her concupiscence abundant
in her artful splendor,
adjuring me to reap the rewards
she knows she can bestow.
So why must I go

[watch it now!]  (oops)

away from her realm
to where cold winds stir
that shun the comfort of her evanescent loins
quickly fading away
like a magician’s vanishing coins

[you’re not trying very hard!]  (I apologize)

Such is my woe
That I can only imagine her now in my dreams!
For I must go where higher duty beckons.

Despite the rain and cold and wind
To cancel a golf game? That’s a sin!
I must show up, I promised my buds.
If I renege—my name is mud!


I’m sorry, I have failed, my friends. I just could not sustain it.
I did my best, you must believe. I just cannot explain it:
This need to rhyme with flowing cadence I can’t do without.
I’ll never be a poet now! I think I’ll go and pout.

Please don't be offended, free verse poets. This is all in good fun.

Similar in theme to my poems "Simple Poet" and "Simple Poet - Part 2," it illustrates my attempts to grow into a complete poet. It isn't so easy for me.

To give context to this latest goal: About ten years ago I was a volunteer at a library with the job of shelving books. This afforded me a wonderful opportunity to browse many books. (It's a good thing I wasn't being paid, or I probably would have gotten fired for the amount of time I spent doing this!)

One of the books I had to shelve was called "The Best American Poetry: 2010." I spent a few minutes reading poems, and every one I saw was a free verse poem. I couldn't find a rhyme anywhere. The conclusion I drew from this was that rhyming was now passe, and if I wanted to become a real poet, I would have to master the art of free verse.

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