When Meter and Rhyme Belie the Seriousness of the Subject–Another Technique

Just the other day, I was complaining a bit to a good friend whose opinion I respect that I didn’t seem to be able to cut loose lately from meter and rhyme in poetry, in order to try writing some blank verse or some free verse.  He pointed out that quite often a jog-trot rhythm can apparently conceal but actually highlight and reveal a serious subject that ordinarily would be treated with kid gloves and a serious meter and rhyme scheme.  Here is my (rather long) attempt to write about serious subjects with a light hand:

Tales of Modern Life
          I
Doris and Janey
Were totally zany,
And they were
Good comrades and true,

Doris and Janey
Both loved Matt Delaney
Which couldn't disturb
Their world view.

So Janey told Doris
"Say, why don't your pour us
Some sugar,
So crystalline white?"

"We'll dole out the white stuff
I'm sure it's the right stuff
To make his car's gas tank
Run right."

Now Doris and Janey
Have shown Matt Delaney
How true lovers' hearts
Mete out love,

And now Matt Delaney
Hates Doris and Janey
And cries out
For justice above.

'Cause he's not sure
Who did it,
He thinks it was Pettit
He don't care a whit about love.

         II

Now, Malcolm the sergeant
Had always been our gent,
Patting doggies
And kitties galore,

He'd help out frail ladies,
And plant garden taties
For old men
Who knew him of yore.

Then he went to the East,
Medals shown on his breast
We were proud
And we worshipped him then,

Malcolm bathed in the glow
And still didn't quite know
Why we loved
Such a violent man.

They sent him to college
To update his knowledge,
He studied
Descartes and Camus,

But when Malcolm got done,
And he looked at his gun,
He understood
There was nothing to do.

Then one day
It was urgent
For Malcolm, our sergeant
To carry his piece into town,

Malcolm drew a swift bead,
Thought once more of his need
And he mowed
Twelve fine citizens down.

Said the doctor who viewed
Malcolm's psych attitude,
"It is clear, he's confused
By Camus."

But the twelve who passed sentence
Did not think this made sense
And besides,
Who the hell was Camus?

         III
When they came to our town
Our heads sure spun round
For, after all,
We had town pride,

"It's swell," and we clapped,
"Now we're up on the map,
And now government
Will take our side."

They hired and hired,
And so rarely fired
That there were no
True malcontents,

But Marley, Bret Marley,
Who harvested barley
And corn, said he had
A sixth sense.

"If we are so great
Contemplate, contemplate
Why haven't they
Been here before?"

"There's something a-brewin'!"
"Stop frettin' and stewin'!"
Said others to him
At the store.

Then the water turned red,
Subdivisions rose, lead
Was detected in our well
And more.

The hills were stripped bare
Of their green alpine hair,
Black plumes of smoke
Rose overnight

And crime and deceit
And guilt followed our feet
As we tried to cure
Our bitter plight.

Then Bret Marley faced down
The CEO clown
Who had taken
Our innocence dear

He shot the man dead
And then knifed his son Ed,
Who had raped and enjoyed
Without fear

All the women he could;
Now Bret Marley's "no good"
And will die someday soon,
It is clear.

Envoi

If you doubt my fine tale
Then the facts never fail
Which you find in the news
And tv.

This has been my reprise
Of true dramas like these,
Though art often pales,
Truthfully.

©Victoria Leigh Bennett, 1/8/17


And that’s all for today!  I would be interested to hear if you think the experiment worked.

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Filed under Full of literary ambitions!, What is literature for?

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