National Poetry Month: Day 13

Ameinias Cursed

Wet-rippled glass shatters not at his grasping
But as Narcissus’ reflection breaks the surface. gasping
You see it’s true that love is blind;
Narcissus never loved him for his mind.

— Delilah Des Anges

Couplets are possibly the most fundamental form of rhyming poetry in the English language, and are certainly the form most people fall back on when engaged in on-the-spot composition. They are disarmingly simple and seem much less taxing to put together.

They are also in effect a building block for longer poems and larger poetic forms; Elizabethan sonnets end with a couplet after two blocks of quatrain, and couplets themselves might as well be infinitely stackable. As long as one can think of a rhyme for the next line, and especially if one is end-stopping (on either both lines or on the second line), the poem can halt at any point or continue indefinitely.

An elegant and beautiful example from children’s poetry is Adrian Mitchell’s Bad Taste:

The vilest furniture in all the land
Is an elephant’s foot umbrella stand.

That is the entire poem. It conveys the poet’s sentiments, rhymes to hold itself in the reader’s mind, and there is even an echoed sound between the two lines, the “ll” of all/umbrella.

Throughout this month I will be nagging readers to donate to MSF


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