I have a dirty secret: I don’t really like poetry.
So why the heck did I decide to write my entire webcomic in rhyming verse?!?
Believe me, I’ve questioned this as well, especially when I’m struggling to find the right rhyme. I think I have the answer: while I don’t particularly like Poetry (snobby capitalization intended) I do really enjoy clever rhymes and rhythmic language. Think Dr. Seuss, Shel Silverstein, Lewis Carroll, Ogden Nash. Or songwriters like Cole Porter, XTC, Jethro Tull.
Call it light verse or call it doggerel,
doesn’t matter I like it just as well.
Okay, there are some more serious poems I like. For instance: The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Pied Piper of Hamelin by Robert Browning. Of course, these do all have a narrative fantasy feel to them.
I will occasionally make an attempt at something a bit closer to real poetry, though. For me this means fiddling about with actual poetic forms, like the Danyl Dragoneyes sonnet. While you can’t really say it’s serious, it does follow a relatively traditional sonnet form: each line is iambic hexameter and it’s divided into three main stanzas in ABAB rhyme with a final rhyming couplet.
(In case you don’t remember (or never knew), iambic means the rhythmic stress is soft-loud, soft-loud, or dun-DUN, dun-DUN, like a heartbeat, and hexameter means there are six beats per line.)
To further give credibility to this sonnet, I was inspired by William Shakespeare’s sonnet 130, known by its first line, “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun.” That sonnet is a bit of a parody of the typical love poem in which the writer goes on (and on) about how beautiful is the object of his affection. Shakespeare instead tells us how unattractive is his love and then hits us at the end with the twist: in spite of all that, he still loves her (which makes his love even more meaningful).
You know, I just realized as I’m writing this that even when I try to pick out a Serious Poem I pick out the one that’s a parody. Ah, well, I can’t escape my true nature, I suppose! And, anyway, the greatest insights often come in the midst of a joke, so there.