Friday, September 14, 2007

An Attempt at Unrhymed Verse

by Wendy Cope

People tell you all the time,
Poems do not have to rhyme.
It's often better if they don't
And I'm determined this one won't.

                                       Oh dear.

Never mind, I'll start again.
Busy, busy with my pen...cil.
I can do it if I try--
Easy, peasy, pudding and gherkins.

Writing verse is so much fun,
Cheering as the summer weather,
Makes you feel alert and bright,
'Specially when you get it more or
        less the way you want it.

* * *

Thanks to Meredith for introducing me to Wendy Cope. She cracks me up.


Anonymous said...

This is excellent... very funny. I wonder if the ancients could do that kind of trick with their feet.

It sort of reminds me of GKC's "to a Modern Poet" done in the "modern" manner.

(If you cannot find it, let me know, and I will see about getting put on the ACS blogg.)

--Dr. Thursday

boinky said...


But the dirty little secret is that "poetry" without rhyme or rhythm is...prose.

I suspect that poetry started as a way for minstrals to make it easier to remember the story...
So the rhythm, the rhyme, and the alliteration makes it poetry.

Something there is that doesn't love a wall
and wants it down

Has rhythm and alliteration, not rhyme.

And so those of us who have trouble expressing things will remember it and quote it to express what we feel or think...

Alas, too much that passes for poetry nowadays is bad prose...which is why nobody reads poetry anymore.

Sheila said...

>sigh< Too true.

I'm trying to develop an appreciation for free verse, but the fact is, the best "free" verse is actually quite rhythmic, only irregularly so. If it's just wandering around without any thought to the sound, I tend to have little patience for it. "The sound must be an echo to the sense," after all.

Santiago said...

I don't really believe there is such a thing as free verse... like Sheila says, most of the good free verse is actually quite rhythmic. Pablo Neruda maybe is more purely free verse, his stuff in Residence on Earth. It's pretty good. But it's not something I go back to a lot.

fan and researcher of Wendy Cope said...

Hello! Does anybody know the source of this poem?? I know it was included in *The Moonlit Stream and Other Poems*, compiled by John Foster (Oxford University Press, 2000). But I don't know the page number. Can anybody possibly help me please? Thank you in advance! (I'm desperate...)