Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Prose Or Poem?

I see Star asked a similar question in her comment on yesterday's post. Must admit, it's one I've often asked myself, and it will probably be interesting to see what answers any of you, my readers, come up with as a result of such a question.

I've already mentioned a correspondence, poetry-writing course I've been working my way through. Among its notes, it advises one to try writing the words down as in an ordinary sentence. If this works, it's probably prose; if not, it's probably a poem. That's the only advice I've ever encountered on the subject. I tend to think, like beauty, it's in the eye of the beholder.

I did say, I was trying to write a 'word picture' with yesterday's lines. They did not simply flow from the pen. I spent quite some time endeavouring to pare down the number of words I used to a bare minimum; to use ones that would give the sharpest image of what I was trying to convey: no unnecessary 'the, and, a,' etc, added at every tiff and turn but serving no real purpose by their inclusion. Although there is no set rhythm, I did bear in mind the lilt of the words I wrote, not something I'm conscious of when setting out to write prose.

In complete contrast, here's a bit of fun that came to be on Sunday afternoon, complete with obligatory rhyme!

Who'd Be A Zookeeper?

Mister McCorkerdale
worked at the zoo.
He loved all the animals -
'cept one - or two.

The first, a white cockatoo
had a strange habit.
He'd hop around Corky's cap,
just like a rabbit.

He'd bounce and he'd jump
while squawking out loud
'Wothcher, old Corky!'
to delight the crowd

who'd paid just to see
this unusual sight.
They'd loudly applaud him
with all of their might.

The second was Ellie,
a young, playful Jumbo,
who thought of McCorkerdale
as a right dumbo.

She'd fill her long trunk
from a pail full of water,
then squirt it at Corky
when she shouldn't aughter!


  1. What a great way to start the day! I do love the way you have strong end words in this poem, and also the way it tickles the tongue. :O)

  2. Loved this one. Very cute and perky.

  3. This is just my opinion -- I haven't looked it up properly in a book -- but it ought to be common knowledge (and apparently isn't) that a poem doesn't "have to rhyme". When a poem rhymes it is called verse, but all poetry is not verse. Hasn't been for probably a hundred years now.

    I don't mean to insult at all, but you and Star must both be so very young or so very old or so very impressionable or so out of the loop.

    Is that snobbish enough? :)

  4. Jinksy, I just love reading anything you write!
    As for me, i am not a stickler for doing anything by the book, if i wish to call it poem or prose, or verse for that matter then i choose what i want to call it, it is after all MY words written in the order I wished them to appear....so I think you have free reign to call anything you write whatever you want it to be......regardless of what the establishment thinks it 'oughta be called.
    so there, pokes tongue out, starts laughing and laughs so much it becomes a 'snort'
    oh dear i always end up snorting when i am around you!! but then so do YOU :)
    call what you wish my friend, go by the beat of your own drum.

  5. Jinksy, you better stop this polemic before it gets too weighty. Verse or not, you decide what and how to express a sentiment. You're the boss of the production.

  6. Well, I never knew whether to say 'I had writ a poem' or' I had writ a verse' or whether what 'I writ was prose'... Can't say I know now wot is wot, but heck whatever, as I long as it's nice, and it falls easy into the ears...lol
    Lovely Jinksy!

    Love Granny

  7. Jinksy,

    You are my favorite combination in a writer, brilliant and humorous. Love the poem.

    As to prose or poem, what do I know? Sometimes words of my daughter flow verse to verse and I realize-this is a poem, nothing else will do. But, what do I know? I come over here and each word is carefully, perfectly placed. I read blogs as a student!

  8. Jinksy...as always, you are brilliant!!!! I love this...it is so light, playful, and you have indeed a precise poetic pen!!!!! Your word pictures are so vivid...and I find myself entering your worlds, much to my absolute delight! I am a child again, reading this! And I want to jump up and down, and clap my hands! Sheer joy! ~Janine XO

  9. Love the way you can make us all smile at the drop of a hat, Jinksy. As for whether something is prose or poetry - who cares as long as it is beautifully written and a joy to read.

  10. So what's in a name? Who cares what one calls something. If we enjoy it fine . If we don't not so fine.
    Today fine.

  11. I agree that it doesn't matter whether it rhymes or not. If what you write pleases somebody, then that is enough. I like what you write, so do lots of other people. I'm just curious - is it ok to just write whatever comes into our minds and call it poetry or prose, whatever, or are there rules to abide by. What is acceptable and what is not? What do you think Jinksy?
    Blessings, Star

  12. I think you are on to something here - the word lilt is a very good word to describe your poetic rhythm. I think this may be the element I have enjoyed for so long but couldn't put my finger on until you explained it so well today. I especially like to read yours out loud, when no one is home to think I've flipped my lid - but then again, since when do I care so much?? tee-hee

  13. Jinksy, love your poem. Call it what you want, I call it "pure pleasure". Thank you so much for sharing.....:-) Hugs, Bernie


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