Jul 30, 2007

Rhyme This

Traditional forms of poetry often leave me cold; but on occasion, a poet will surprise me. Wendy Cope's "Some Rules" in the July-August issue of Poetry uses an ABA rhyme scheme with an ending couplet in the final stanza. The rhyme scheme provides a sarcastic and sort of whimsical undertone to the poem.

"Don't fall for an amusing hunk,/However rich, unless he's kind./Don't answer e-mails when you're drunk.//" Sounds like pretty solid and practical advice to me. The rhyme is a bit elementary, but I think it works here, especially since the rules are simple. The main rule in this poem seems to be not engage in activities with heavy consequences when drunk. However, the poet explicitly reminds the reader not to answer emails when drunk. As a reader, it makes me wonder why this rule is particularly important to remember.

The fourth stanza is full of regret, or so it seems to me. "Don't live with thirty years of junk--/Those precious things you'll never find/Stop, if the car is going 'clunk.'//" Car troubles, plus rising piles of junk seem to get the poet down. It's almost like the poet has created a list of New Year's resolutions to follow.


Anna said...

I'd like to read the rest of the poem. I feel the same way you do about rhyming poetry. Usually it has a greeting card feel to it, but it's a breath of fresh air when you discover a poem that uses rhymes in an elegant, mature fashion. I'm curious to see how the rhymes hold up throughout the poem.

Serena said...

Yeah I have a focus on poetry this week. I'm working on another review of a Billy Collins poem in the Poetry issue for this month. I think I have to re-read that Clytemnestra story before I write the review. I started it last night, but then stopped to write the review of the rhyming poem.

I'm not sure that the rhymes in this poem are the best, but they are effective for what I think the poet is attempting to accomplish here.

Anna said...

I can't wait for your thoughts on Clytemnestra. I really enjoyed that story!