Monday, March 10, 2014


Hanging Out in the Playground with Words

The sung word, the hung word, the shouted word, the touted word,
the whispered word, all silenced in a hush.
The seen word, the mean  word, the heard word, the blurred word
the written word, in pencil, pen, or brush.

The saved word, depraved word, deleted word, completed word,
the word on every otherbody’s lips.
Remembered words, dismembered words, forgotten words, begotten words,
and those thrown out in little, static blips.

The vowed word, too-plowed word,  misperceived, or ill conceived;
one’s first and final word a thing of note.
Words so succinct, or indistinct, or flashy, brashy, gone-in-a-blink
you’d think one wrote from necessary rote.

Fly off the page, in seething rage, or hide inside a voice-blocked cage -
no way to sing a sorrow, joy or bliss.
Our words escape, in search of shape, or form or norm to lurch and scrape
the edges of one’s always-there abyss.

Words delay us, and betray us, might refine us, oft define us;
we can twist and turn them into rhymes.
They elude us, they intrude, plus make us think, drive us to drink,
and yes, go platitudinous at times.

Words enflame us, or defame us, sometimes shame us (if not blame us),
shock and mock us as we ply our trade.
Word-enraptured, we’re script-captured, 'ere afflicted, word-addicted
in love with love of words both sought and made.

One tries in vain to ride the plain, resize the brain; abide, refrain,
then airs the stiffened fabric just to breathe.
Only then can kept-words flow; as new ones come that you don't know.
(Does it matter how they judge the weave?)

So this was just an exercise where I have come to realize
this rhyming’s fun.  But poetry it’s not.
It’s just a bunch of lines in synch,to pass the time and make me think
‘bout words and sound abounding in the lot.

That songs we sing and words we write, so often ring as Truly Trite
(we cringe at just how bad it sometimes gets)
does not mean that we’ve lost our way or gotten stuck in too-much play.
or given up, deep-sunk in past regrets.

The snow is falling, I am stalling (should be working, 'stead of lurking).
Time to leave the wordpen; say goodbye.
Singsong's fine and yes, it rhymed, but really, now, this babblejow
is no excuse for not reaching more high.

Back to work, you.



The above is, as noted, 'playing' with words and sound. Initially undertaken merely as an exercise, in retrospect it seems to have gotten away with itself, unable to stop, unaware of its own impending monotony, where to the reader it becomes almost trance-like, just sounds, in rapid succession, echoing one another, the meaning elusive or forced.   I say that after just landing on William Michelian's blog and seeing his little rhymed poem on a wished-for spring bud.  Now that's poetry!  In the end, it's not, I think  about not reaching for something higher. It's about not getting stuck in the sandbox of play, where play becomes a substitute for doing more than just "reaching".  

Apropos this, I have, recently, become really interested in 'word sound' - looking at the phenomenon of sung (as opposed to recited) poetry vis-a-vis transmission and recognition of meaning .  I wonder if anyone's ever done an anthology of sung poetry (complete with audio).  I can think of three or four examples that should absolutely be included.  Is anyone collecting such examples?  It would be interesting to find them.