I love writing poetry. Anyone who looks at my blog for five seconds can figure that out. Yet it’s only recently that I’ve started doing it on a frequent basis and even less that I’ve started working with specific types of poems. WIth each one that I complete I’m learning one, crucial thing–writing poetry isn’t easy.
Some might ask, what’s the big deal? After all, where’s the challenge in ensuring that each line follows a format such as abab? None at all, if you don’t worry about syllables which are important to a poem’s flow. If each line doesn’t have a similar pattern than the rhythm will be off and the poem will sound odd.
I found this out when writing the poem Looking Back on Love (see Poems) which is written in the style of the Interlocking Rubiyat, a form that dates back to the twelfth century Persian Collection, The Rubiyat of Omar Khayyam. The rubiyat style has several requirements: must have two or more quatrains, each quatrain must have an aaba format, the unrhymed line sets the rhyme for the next stanza, the last stanza–on occasion–rhyme completely, and it must have a consistent meter.
Creating a four stanza poem under such conditions was harder than I thought. I had to come up with a general tale, make it fit into the meter, insure that the appropriate lines rhymed, and somehow get the whole bloody thing to make sense. I managed–eventually–and the poem is a lovely piece of work.
As much as I love the first rubiyat that I created, it was a greater challenge than I’d expected and taught me a great deal. After all, when you have to take all of this into consideration just to write sixteen lines, it puts a new perspective on writing novels. In fact, it almost makes it look easy.
Disclaimer: I do not own the imagery used in this blog post and have no artistic claim to it.