What is it then
that holds your poem together?
Does it have rhythm,
does it run, does it fall, does it rise?
Does it hurry you on to the end of the line?
Does it have that touch of song,
the dizzy lilt that makes the lines
now loll, now tilt
towards their end, however long?
Or do you stutter over one letter,
going back to the beasts of bold Beowulf
or to the gifted giver of Gawain?
Or does it rhyme?
Poor rhyme is out of fashion, yet
Robert Frost, one American fall,
said poetry with no rhyme at all
was playing tennis without the net!
And the music?
Do your words sing?
Where has the music gone?
If you take your made-up verses,
and rub off the rouge you’ve overlaid,
and write them out in one long line,
you’ll see you’ve really written prose,
like Monsieur Jourdain,
that’s what you’ve written all your life!
However much you deck it out,
however much you dress it up,
however hard it is to understand,
so just admit it, and
convert your latest collection of poems into newspaper columns which will then have every possibility of success!