One thing I thought would be hard about writing poetry was the rhyming. I mean, poems have to rhyme, right? That’s what I, and a lot of people, thought before I actually started learning about them. It turns out that they don’t have to rhyme. In fact John Milton and other poets around his time absolutely despised rhyming. Eventually, that trend turned and rhyming poems were popular again.
There are different kinds of rhymes. Eye rhymes look the same but may not be pronounced the same. End rhymes are the most common, when the word at the end of a line rhymes with the word at the end of the next line. Masculine rhymes are when stressed syllables rhyme and feminine rhymes are unstressed. Hmm…something seems odd there.
Rhymes are fun to say and fun to listen to. To me it seems a lot like writing music with beats and tempos. It turned out not to be so hard to do, at least most of the time. Every once in a while I do get stuck and have to work out an awkward line.
This week, I’m offering two poems for the price of one. One I wrote in poetry class and I think it’s my favorite one I ever wrote. It’s from back when I still had dogs and about our walking ritual. The other I felt I had to do to fulfill the challenge of actually writing a poem a week. So it’s about my current cat situation.
On our nightly walk
it’s always the same.
Me and three large dogs…
I wonder if I’m sane.
Wild and excited, the dogs
pull every which way,
trying to go different directions.
Doesn’t matter what I say.
We stumble down the walk,
tripping and tangled.
It’s only been three minutes,
every nerve is jangled.
We reach a back country road
and the leashes come off
After unwrapping fourteen legs,
I’ve had enough.
The transformation is wondrous,
it’s why I persevere.
Now the night becomes soothing,
I breathe the air, crisp and clear.
The dogs lope gracefully
away down the road,
circling back to my side
as if bound by some unspoken code.
It’s as if a fine gold thread
is woven around us,
keeping them beside me,
bound by nothing but trust.
We make our way down the road,
the dogs surging and circling,
til we reach a wooded stand,
pitch black and foreboding.
With a word I command them
and we turn back around,
they head through the corn field
noses to the ground.
Again, a word calls them back,
ears pricked to my voice
Again by my side they trot,
in my approval they rejoice.
At last we come back
to the houses and yards
fraught with enticements, distractions
from which I must guard.
Back on go the leashes
under the streetlights glimmer
Tripping and stumbling,
we head home for dinner.
Life With Six Cats
Six sleepy kitties curled on my bed,
Three at my feet, three at my head.
If I move a muscle, the growling begins.
No one wants to give an inch. I lay still again.
Everything is quiet as I enter the door.
Then from every corner, cats begin to pour.
One wants out, two want to talk,
Three follow in my steps everywhere I walk.
Six pairs of eyes, hued from gold to green
Watch every move I make, see everything.
Soft, velvet fur, tails held high and well,
Black and white, butterscotch, tabby, tortoiseshell.
When it’s feeding time is when it really gets scary.
A twenty-pound food bag around I must carry
Twenty-four legs milling, bumping at my two.
Six voices crying, “I’m starving, I need food!”
How did this happen? It wasn’t in my plans.
Guess sometimes fate takes things out of our hands.
But when all of us are snuggled against the chilly night,
Rumbling purrs, adoring looks make everything alright.