Playing With Words

I have really enjoyed working on my poetry these past few weeks.  It allows me an opportunity to play with words like no other form of writing. While two of my works, i dreamt of white shoes and staircases and torn, are practices in free verse, I also enjoyed creating a mini-Haiku with Experiment in 5,7,5. My favorite piece thus far is nothing, however I hesitate to name the specific form of this poem. As with free verse, nothing contains no rhyming scheme but it does have a strong rhythm within a structured five line stanza. In each of the three stanzas, there are 7 syllables in the first line, 6 the second, 8 in the third, and 2 in the fourth followed by a refrain in the fifth. Here’s an excerpt:

so loud and unrelenting
from open mouth they pour
i hurt, i ache, i hesitate
and still,
they mean nothing

This week I wrote a variation on the traditional ballad written in quatrain form. A quatrain contains four lines in each stanza with the second and fourth lines rhyming and having a similar syllable structure. A ballad is composed as a narrative to tell a story and typically contains a refrain in the fourth line of each stanza. Rather than a refrain, my ballad, you drew a picture of us, utilizes a recurring theme in the third line of each stanza which begins with “now strangers.”  This poem tells the story of two young lovers, one an artist and the other a writer, whose work, once driven by passion and love, becomes fueled by fame and fortune eventually leading to the demise of their relationship and their art.  As many ballads are often lyrics set to music, I found the most effective way to read this poem is to quicken the pace between stanzas by using very little or no pause between the last line of each stanza and the first line of the next. I hope you enjoy it. Here’s a link: you drew a picture of us.


About Susan Warren Utley

Susan Warren Utley is a wife and mother living and writing in the shadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Her stories are inspired by the unexpected twists and turns of real life and by her muse, a feisty Jack Russell Terrier who occasionally answers to the name of Lucy. View all posts by Susan Warren Utley

3 responses to “Playing With Words

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