POETICS: A Self-Referential Definition of Poetry (visit #51)
Preface to Poetry


Ars Poetica

     So how do you define a valid poem?
     Is poetry just like pornography?
     You know it when you see it, clear as chrome.
     Or claims verse an express philosophy?
     Perhaps some cut-off lines will fill the bill,
     Perhaps end syllables with sounds alike
     Are all that's sought to give a vatic thrill.
     Perhaps the images provide the dike 
     Containing all the fluid surge of sense
     That carries all the worth of wonder's trade.
     The Greeks and Romans wrote their lines intense 
     Without a doubt about how verse was made. 
     For them the rhythm mattered, not the rhyme.
     Design and figures played a part,
     But verse was mainly words in measured time.
     The poet wrote to please and to impart
     Some wisdom deep distilled from god-knit knack.
     When English came to host the bard's behest,
     Some rhyme was wrought to mask its metric lack.
     A quest for art retrained is my request.



Footnotes (= Sidenotes) are here: