What's In A Poem? Poem by Tom Billsborough

Tom Billsborough

Preston Lancashire England

What's In A Poem?

Rating: 3.2


Each word's a chord,
A tone, a colour,
Juxtaposing images and sounds
In harmonising order,
Assonance the flats to mollify the song
Alliteration sharps,
The plangent plucking of a harp,
Half rhyme I use
To vary the length and pitch of lines,
And introduce a complex contrapuntal strength.
As one creating landscapes
Uses tones and focal points
To give perspective to the whole.
The soul is in the metre,
Echoing below as some elusive rhyme,
The constant footfall
Of the Alexandrine.
Subtle variations are allowed,
But still its shadow must remain,
Governing the flow of each refrain,
To counterpoint again.

Or do we write just as we feel,
Our instinct using patterns
Once instilled by memories
And habit, in ignorance
Of analysing and retrospective theories!
Perhaps the great G Minor Fugue,
Or Eliot's lyrics,
Or the prosody of French verse lurk
Within my mind's
Subliminal self and do the work!
What puzzles me is how the songs begin
Not how they end
Or the subtle tricks played
In between created
Like movements in a dance.
Remote control, I'm told,
Precedes each thought,
So perhaps we ought not claim
The credit or take the blame!

COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Valsa George 09 July 2018

However poetry should have a certain rhythm and the ability to stir some emotions in the mind of the reader. The juxtaposing of image and sound is very essential for poetic creation. A beautiful 'treatise'on the art of writing verse! A sure 10! I always notice that you have a unique style!

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Valsa George 09 July 2018

Your analysis of poetry is quite profound using erudite language! Sometimes we labor to write restricting ourselves to stay within rules! Sometimes we write free verse as it comes, giving free rein to our pen, rather imagination!

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Bharati Nayak 03 August 2017

Each word's a chord, A tone, a colour, Juxtaposing images and sounds In harmonising order, Assonance the flats to mollify the song Alliteration sharps, The plangent plucking of a harp, __-A fine poem on the art of writing poetry.Thanks for sharing.

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Tom Billsborough 03 August 2017

Thank you, Bharati

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Susan Williams 04 April 2016

Your vocabulary is extensive and adds a palette of a myriad of colors plus a nice specificity. I appreciated the change of tone from the first half of the poem to the second. A very creative look at creativity.

0 1 Reply
Tom Billsborough 05 April 2016

Dear Susan, The poem came about after I sent a batch of my work to an old friend of my brother. He was head of English at Manchester Grammar School, which is rated with Eton College as one of the two best schools in England. He was very complimentary about my poems and did a very detailed analysis of my style but, since he had no grounding in French, he missed the essential feature of my verse, which is based on the Alexandrine. I think this arises from the fact that for years I have read almost exclusively French verse. Mind you it was only when I got his reply that I took a good look at my writing and realised that I was mainly using a system of six stresses without reference to the syllable count. I discussed this letter with my brother, who is a landscape artist, who warned me against over-analysis and to trust my intuition. I guess I write in a French way because it suits my voice. So in the poem I was trying to express this problem. It is only since I joined Poem Hunter that I have begun reading english verse again. I have been astonished by the high standard of much of the work, especially that from your own country. I suppose that shouldn't be surprising as all the major poets in the last century have come mainly from the U.S.A and Ireland. It's nice to hear from you again. I gather you are a very busy Lady but I'm praying that you put up some more of your excellent poems soon. Many regards Tom Billsborough

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Kelly Kurt 02 April 2016

~~I feel exactly the same way, Tom. Sometimes I struggle to do what I think I want, other times, I let whatever it is that I think is me, do what it will.

2 1 Reply
Tom Billsborough 05 April 2016

I have three or four poems 0n the stocks at the moment and in each case, I keep asking myself. Is this going anywhere? Very often good ideas lead into blind alleys. Mostly I am pretty ruthless and the bin is kept full! Other times I've written a poem straight off and it stands as it is. I am here was this type andthe one about Billie Holiday. I did wonder after if the latter was a bit slight but I thought, no. That woman's voice always blows me away. And that's it. Poetry can be a tough mistress. When I have a go at prose it's a bit like getting out of school early! Nice to hear from you again Tom

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Kelly Kurt 03 April 2016

I overtly ignore reading most of the Greats I write just what I think and seldom 'play by the rules.' I know what I like. Your style and wording are appreciated.

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Tom Billsborough 03 April 2016

Someone I know, who was head of English at one of our best schools, analysed my verse and what he said was fair enough. But, not having a grounding in French, he missed the fact that my prosody is based on the French Alexandrine, where the six beat stress count is used without reference to syllables. Until I joined Poem Hunter I read mainly French Verse and I think this has become my natural style. But, as my brother suggested, perhaps we over-analyse these things and perhaps we should just go with the flow! What always baffles me, is how the initial idea comes into one's head. Thank you for your kind comments, Kelly. Tom Billsborough

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Tom Billsborough

Preston Lancashire England
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