Sunday, January 13, 2008

Learning the Rhyme Scheme

For all the wonderful praise I have received from all of you for my poems, I think I owe you an honest confession. The first poem I ever wrote was for my school magazine and (in what I assumed at the time was poetic liberty,) I followed absolutely no rhyme scheme. The sentiments for my school were all there, in very patriotic display. I was so proud of it when I first finished writing it, I thought it would be published for sure. With absolute pride in my work and a gleam in my eye, I handed over the poem in my neatest hand-writing to my favourite English teacher. I assumed she would read it and gimme a pat on the back or something of those proportions.
I was thoroughly disappointed though. She didn’t read it then and when she did read it later, she called me up and said she expected better from me. She asked me if I had read any poems apart from the ones in the text books and whether I understood rhyme schemes. Now I will admit, up until that point, I thought rhyme schemes were for novice poets who didn’t know squat about poetry. I assumed the beauty of poetry was bringing out the emotions not necessarily in rhyme. Of course, my whole outlook was such because (now I am admittedly being bashful but nonetheless,) I was always a great orator and had a gift of the gab. With a beautiful sense of modulation and the ability to portray emotions well with my voice, I could (and I reckon I still can) bring text to life. So the poem I had written, when I read it, sounded really fabulous.
My teach though added another perspective to my line of thought. She told me that the beauty of a poem was in its rhyme. A poem that does not follow a rhyme scheme is simply an essay. There has to be a distinct difference between an essay and a poem and that difference exists in the rhyme scheme. She handed back the poem I had written and told me to fit it to a rhyme scheme. (Now, ever since the beginning I have always worked close to the deadlines and this being no exception to the rule, I had submitted it on the penultimate day.) so, with my foolish pride hurt by rejection from my favorite teach, I did not look at that piece of parchment with my first poem on it again all day long. Yet, when I went back home, I had swallowed all that foolish pride and in the dark of the night, I sat to re-think all that I had been told and so re-wrote the poem fitting it to a rhyme scheme again. I have lost that precious piece of parchment to the sands of time by now and hence cannot show you the two versions of my first poem ever but I can tell you one thing for sure, it was undoubtedly my best work yet.
It ended with something like this-

…down untrodden paths all our journeys begin,
Vincentians- we dare… and do… and win…
-Vincenti Dabvitur-

P.S.The edited poem did not find its way back to my teach for her feedback but looking back in hindsight, I am certain Mrs. M.F. would have been proud to have been able to impart some knowledge to this ungainly pupil of hers. And if not, I am greatful to her that she helped create a better understanding of the beautiful world of poetry in me…


rahul said...

and what standard were u in then?

and ya btw, i agree with ur english teacher too.

bluebutterfly said...

i seem to agree with your english teacher .... i used to write a lot ....never rhyming stuff but just general non rhyming stuff which your teach corectly calls "essays".... i never consented to my writing being called poems as everyone wanted them to be .... coz they were not .... they did not bring words to life ... did not have a rhyme scheme ... just described my feelings on a page .... often about love andother time just frustration ....
but i really appreciate you sharing the rhyme story ..... and your work is great .....

Mulling Over My Thoughts said...

how did i miss commenting here?
sorry for the delayed reply to the both of you!

rahul:> i was in 9th back then... do you know, that i wrote just one more poem after that till i got into engineering?
and i became a poet in first year! (i am sure you can guess when and how! funny thing this love...)

bluebutterfly:> im glad you prefer not to call them poems although i dont disapprove of people who do call their jotting of thoughts without a rhyme scheme as poems either. i just think poems are more romantic and beautiful when written to a rhyme scheme.

and another thing i have missed mentioning- the best poems, like "the carpenters" said, are written with a broken heart!

Mulling Over My Thoughts said...
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