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Should Modern Poetry Rhyme

My greatest delight is the file of "special letters" that I have received from people all over this country and abroad, who, having read my greeting cards, wrote to me saying how much they were amused, inspired, or comforted by the words. My poem says it all.

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Poetic Portraits

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Published: November 2014

I had decided that it would awaken my muse
If I read the poems current publishers use.
When I looked at what is marketed now,
I couldn't help being puzzled, somehow.
The words do not rhyme, no story is told.
I simply felt I was left out in the cold.
I really can't say how many hours I spent,
But it all added up to complete discontent.
Somewhere, it seems, in the passing of years
There have been many changes. It brings me to tears
For words always have been such a joy to me
When they have been written in pure harmony.
So I went to the dictionary, and lo and behold,
This is the gist of what I was told.
"It's imaginative language, rhythmically expressed.
An art in which the beauty of emotions is stressed."
There are so many poets in my books on the shelf,
Including Will Shakespeare, the old bard himself.
If he, and the others, catered to rhyme,
It surely shouldn't be destroyed by time.
Would Thoreau now rest by his quiet pond,
Contemplating the heavens beyond,
Grasp what today's poets seem to be saying,
Or would he liken it to a donkey braying?
Would Whitman, if he lived in these present days,
Think "Leaves of Grass" just a passe' phrase,
Or would he give in to the poet's curse
If he'd accidentally start rhyming a verse?
I'm wondering just what Thomas Moore would say
If he could read the poetry today.
With nary a word using rhythm or rhyme,
Would he back in his coffin gratefully climb?
When Edgar A. Poe wandered weak and weary,
Thinking about the midnight dreary,
And he heard the raven quote "never more,"
Did he think it was just a metaphor?
If Emily Dickinson came back to earth
Do you think it possible she could give birth
To words that have no connecting thought?
I doubt if that was the way she was taught.
Do you think that Longfellow could really survive
Reciting "The Children's Hour" on TV live,
Or would they boo him down from the stand
Before his rhyming got out of hand.
Today the Brownings would surely recoil
To think they had spent all their earthly toil
Perpetuating words of enduring love.
What could they have been thinking of?
Dear Robert Frost can peacefully lie,
Knowing that his poetry will never die,
But some poets today, though many are read,
Who will remember them, after they're dead?
I shouldn't include everyone in this verse.
Good poets are still writing, for better or worse.
The fact that I love both rhythm and rhymes
May only show that I'm way behind in the times.
The need to express comes straight from the heart.
At least, it would seem that's the best place to start.
So I'll try to respect all poets today,
But for me to be happy, I'll do it my way.

more by Alora M. Knight

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