I write my poetry in a mix of styles depending on the subject matter and the objective. Poetry is a sensory vehicle as well as written words, and the meter and style help create the emotion that the poem elicits.
I have received a fair amount of criticism from both sides of the aisle because I choose to write in both rhyme and free verse. There is an active war going on among poets and readers as to what style allows for effective poetry. And for many, you can’t play on both fields.
I find that whole discussion confining. Rhyme is a perfect vehicle for humor and also for telling stories and establishing rhythm in poems where it is a useful ingredient. Free verse is very useful to me in dealing with complex subjects where the reader needs to move at his or her own pace and be allowed to float on the thermals of the message.
Below is an example of a poem that I chose to write in rhyme because the rhythm helps to establish the tone. “Boxcars” (Riding in Boxcars, 2006), is a poem about building an economy on the backs of the institution of slavery. It is also about the hopelessness that must have weighed so heavily on the victims.
The wear and tear on souls seemed best conveyed by the endless rhythm of the trains, chained together, as they rattled through the backyards of our country. Those “Boxcars” seemed a suitable metaphor for the treatment of the slaves who sustained the economy of the south during the first two hundred years of our presence in North America.
Glenn K. Currie
They rumbled by, chained together,
Dragging each other on worn rails.
Bearing their burdens, noisily,
Steel wheels screeching their sad travails.
Plodding slowly through dark alleys,
America’s wealth on their backs,
Weary slaves to the constant beatings,
From long miles of neglected tracks.
Boxcars branded by their owners,
Faded claims to these ancient beasts.
Even those outliving masters,
Sold to offspring of the deceased.
Old ones left in urban rail yards,
Covertly decked with diff’rent brands,
Graffiti printed on their sides,
The work of sympathetic hands.
None escape their endless burdens,
No freedom waits around the bend.
These servants work until they fail,
Chained on rails until journey’s end.
Copyright 2006 Glenn K. Currie