Poetry School DazeSchoolhouse

Light Verse by Don "Tatereye" Tidwell


A Hard-Earned Poem-Writing Education

The Building of a Poem
The Apple
My Muse
Poetic License
No Poet
Stumbling Block


To gods of Greek mythology, so history imparts,
was born a group of sisters who would oversee the arts.
Their manner was ethereal, their origins divine,
their mandate, "make your presence known,"
their numbers totaled nine..
Each was assigned a certain realm in which to ply her trade
and cast an influential spell on each decision made;
to offer each practitioner the secrets of her lore,
as garnered in the world at large from eons gone before.
The gamut of society is serviced in their sphere
embracing higher echelons of life which art holds dear.
From tragedy to comedy and poetry serene,
to music and astronomy and dancing on the green.
Polhymnia and Erato serve the dedicated bard,
and arrange for recognition as a poets' just reward...
I opt for help from Thalia, she of comedy and bounce,
and ignore the other eight who all have names I can't pronounce!

THE BUILDING OF A POEM First you choose a metaphor Central to your building chore, Wide enough for adding more, Tempting as an open door. Symbols form each cornerstone, Bold enough to stand alone, Dominant upon their throne, Vibrant with poetic tone. Add descriptive imagery-- Subtle, crafted skillfully; Etchings for the mind to see-- Anchored in reality. Similes then intertwine, Sweet as cedar, strong as pine, Manifest in each design, Leading eyes from line to line. Power tools of poetry -- Operate them carefully. Flaunt your creativity -- Structure what a poem should be.

THE APPLE The teacher brought an apple To share with us at school. Reversing the tradition Of the apple/teacher rule. She held the apple in her hand And turned it gracefully, As though upon a carousel For all in class to see. She pointed out the shiny skin, The color and the sheen; The woody stem, the symmetry-- A worm hole could be seen. Each student then was challenged To look for something more-- For other features hidden In her apple metaphor. Her motive was to demonstrate The absence of a "norm"-- That different folks see different things In every shape and form. That this unfailing principle Applied constructively, Can help the would be poet In his (her) quest for imagery. 4 Dec 1993

BITTERSWEET One member of a poets group with urgent yen to write, looked into writing poetry, but fought a losing fight. He lacked the tools and talent to be clearly understood and transfer to the poet's page, a work which would be good. His quest to pen a proper poem betrayed him every time. Compulsion filled his writing pad with humor-fostered rhyme. The desert dry and mountain cool were hard for him to find -- the rainbow's hues escaped his eye, for he was color blind. These represent examples of scenes true poets see. Profound and thought provoking; Sincere, but humor free. So this aspiring rhymer by the poet's wayside fell. Pursuit of rhyming humor sounded his poetic knell. Admitting that, poetically, there is a calling higher, his lot was simply meant to be that of a versifier.

MY MUSE Come sweet muse of poetry, tell me Thalia dear words which tickle funny bones and make a grin appear. Let me in on secrets you have guarded through the ages. Give me words of guffaw ilk to write upon these pages. Don't speak to me of metaphor, of imagery and rhyme; Help me fill each reader's cup with humor every time. Tell of clowns and big balloons and slapstick comedy; Not of love and romance, please -- none of that for me. Not of flowers and flowing streams or mountains rising high. Not of shades of brilliant hue or deserts hot and dry. Give me words all humorous which I can run from scrimmage -- Otherwise you'll blow my mind and compromise my image.

POETIC LICENSE I got a nasty message, just delivered in the mail. It said: "you'd better get a license, or you're gonna go to jail" and since early in my life I have abhorred incarceration, I decided to investigate to ease my consternation. It puzzled me a bit to learn some license ‘age-en-cee’ would focus on a law abiding citizen like me, cause I've never run a brothel, and I surely don't deal drugs, or comport with other low-down types who may be thieves or thugs. I hied me to the city hall to isolate the shop responsible for license mail -- quite sure it was some cop. A bosomy receptionist just flat-out glared at me, and said "Go find the mayor ... he's the guy you gotta see!" So I parleyed with hizzoner, in his big upholstered chair, and regaled him with the details of the note that brought me thar.* He listened quite politely, although bored beyond a doubt, while considerin if he should have his bouncer throw me out. He finally snuffed his stogie as he got up from his chair, and he said it was MY problem, that he really didn't care. He asked me what my job was, and I told him "I'm a poet," then he muttered impolitely, that's the reason, and you know it! The city council voted they were gonna charge a fee for inscribing poems on paper meant for other folks to see. That for every letter bender bent on seeking worldly fame, they would make him buy a license and display it in a frame. So they sent the license letters out, and offered this advice: "If you mutilate the language, then you gotta pay the price," so just pony up the ante even though it makes you hot, then You can frame the only license any poet ever bought! _____________________________ *Poetic License used thar.

NO POET My cup runneth under! No poet am I. Stark words from my tongue simply wither and die. A serious poem is a thorn in my side. I simply can't write one.... I know, for I've tried. Such may hold meaning for others to see, but the serious poem is a downer for me. I much prefer levity humor and fun, and my muse lets me know that all else I must shun, But fear not, True Poets, Heed not what I say.... There's no other extant, who malfunctions this way.

STUMBLING BLOCK My computer keyboard beckons me each night when I get home, to "sit right here in front of me and conjure up a poem." I do my utmost to comply but every single time, I come up empty poem-wise.... Can't find those words that rhyme. My mental clock don't say tic-toc. It says toc-tic. And even worse, the gears reverse! The parts don't click. This makes me sick. My mental clock.... My stumbling block! Maybe someday ???


© Don Tidwell, 1953-2003

Twice Blessed Poetry