I keep returning to old poems I wrote a few years ago and looking over their rhyming structure (or lack of) and wondering how I could improve them. As a result, I have been distracted from writing numerous pieces of recent stuff for my next assignment.
Maybe that’s not all bad though. Maybe I need to revisit old sites to see if they still withstand the principles and guidance so far explained. Maybe at the end of the course, new-old poems will dust themselves off and be all shiny again.
I’ve been reading a few poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins (as has been suggested to me). I’m amazed by how the words appear to just fit perfectly into place, and to not sound over-complicated. Maybe I over-complicate things in my head as I’m planning poems and that’s why I tend to stutter and stop.
I’m trying to get my head around the poetry that I own without feeling bogged-down with them. I only really began reading the “Staying Alive” anthology (given to me as part of my course literature), as I began this section. I just didn’t know where to start. Since then I have been reading the suggested poems in the section, some – like G M Hopkins – that I have discovered I have, plus a few extra’s hidden away on a shelf or in a drawer.
I’ve also been listening to music (as I often do), finding some beautiful rhymes and structures regardless of the melody surrounding them.
Take two of my favourite songs at the moment, for example.
1) Florence + The Machine’s “Heavy in Your Arms” (single: Heavy in Your Arms, 2010) The opening lines “I was a heavy heart to carry/My beloved was weighed down/My arms around his neck/My fingers laced a crown” And so it goes on throughout the song – even putting together confession and blessing in oblique rhyme. The rhyming is subtle, effective and captivating.
2) Jamie Rodwell’s song “You’re Beautiful” (album: Not Ashamed, Soul Survivor & Momentum, 2009) is a love song. I suppose, without a melody, it would be a sonnet or something similar. It opens “I see your face in every sunrise/The colours of the morning are inside your eyes/The world awakens in the light of the day/I look up to the sky and say//You’re Beautiful//” The rhythm is steady and unfaltering, and is taken right through the song.
I return to these when I need some inspiration in rhyme and rhythm.
Thanks goes to Mslexia magazine on their brilliant article and glossary on rhyming types in their April/May/June 2011 edition (More info at http://www.mslexia.co.uk/index.php)
Here’s a You Tube Video for Jamie Rodwell’s “You’re Beautiful” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpDpeyFoxBA