Thursday, March 30, 2006


Free Verse

Franklin P. Adams, To a Vers Librist, from Something Else Again (1912), pp. 43-44:
"Oh bard," I said, "your verse is free;
The shackles that encumber me,
The fetters that are my obsession,
Are never gyves to your expression.

"The fear of falsities in rhyme,
In metre, quantity, or time,
Is never yours; you sing along
Your unpremeditated song."

"Correct," the young vers librist said.
"Whatever pops into my head
I write, and have but one small fetter:
I start each line with a capital letter.

But rhyme and metre -- Ishkebibble! --
Are actually negligible.
I go ahead, like all my school,
Without a single silly rule."

Of rhyme I am so reverential
He made me feel inconsequential.
I shed some strongly saline tears
For bards I loved in younger years.

"If Keats had fallen for your fluff,"
I said, "he might have done good stuff.
If Burns had thrown his rhymes away,
His songs might still be sung to-day."

O bards of rhyme and metre free,
My gratitude goes out to ye
For all your deathless lines -- ahem!
Let's see now....What is one of them?

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