How does structure affect your writing?
Writers, poets especially in this case tend toward a preferential place of being while writing a piece. Some enjoy constructing a work within certain guidelines, specific boxes of theory that we design our work to fill. Then there are the writers who never seem to need any form of structure, they sit, they write and produce a thing, wild and free and living independently, without restraint.
So of the two, is one a better way than the other?
Let us examine the purpose of these guidelines. These structural designs were put into place in order to educate, to assist us in keeping our thoughts collected and orderly. There are times when this may be necessary. However, there is something to be said for a piece that needs no walls of theory to support its weight. I am of the opinion that both are valid schools of thought, and there is a proper usage for both methods.
What about breaking some rules, or bending them, but leaving the structure relatively the same as you found it?
A melding of the two schools is typically a beautiful thing. It climbs the walls that surround it like ivy streaming upward and outward, steady, purposed, but guided. Some pieces cannot follow any rules, they refuse to, some absolutely need to remain within a structure, some simply want to, while others still remain as the ivy, climbing. In the below piece I explored a simple rhyme scheme, a simple verse, strictly structured to draw further attention to the image. I could have broken a few rules, I could have pushed this piece outside of the box. I chose, rather than risk someone analyzing the work and seeing the complexity of the structure I selected, or the genius of an unexpected rhyme, to instead offer simplicity in structure to better allow the viewing of the scene.
How do we put theory to practice then?
It is my opinion that structure may now, as we are more educated (hopefully) than we were upon beginning to write, instead of holding a piece together, it may be used as a tool to better spotlight on the aspects you would see shine. Use theory as a tool, a weapon in your arsenal, it is a thing that you, the almighty poet possesses. Use it when you feel it fits. When a piece refuses to be put inside the box you design for it, perhaps it’s time to allow it to explore.
What about personal ‘style’?
Yes, well, we all have our own way of holding the brush that seems to make our brushstrokes different in this subtle way, or perhaps it makes it blend in with the others. Style is a dangerous thing, it can become a cage we refuse to break from. We must explore the facets of a thing that we know less of, in order to grow and to achieve new heights. I love my little boxes. I adore playing with structure. To see a thing and decide it isn’t quite complex enough, then to twist it with a devious grin until it becomes this beautifully mangled thing. Yet I am presently working on free verse. Admittedly, a times I want so badly to rhyme a word, or to allow the fluid pairing of syllable to the preceding line. Still, it is a weaker muscle, and as all writers know, we must strain our muscles to see them grow.
Try something new, perhaps you will only find that you prefer a specific way of doing things, or perhaps in your wild flounderings in unfamiliar lands, you will stumble upon or create something breathtaking. Our boxes may be most opulent palaces, but if we never leave them, they are cages nonetheless.
I hope you enjoy the piece I’m sharing today. If I may, The Muse.
Upon the wake I see her there
in stillness of this open sea
she lies adrift with shoulders bare
in worlds created just for me.
A seed was planted, strong and deep
with gifts for one so true
My seed would grow as she yet sleeps
to one, my name is Muse.
I sing a song to watch her dance
in fields of golden hue
I sing a darkened sweet romance
and whisper to the few.
Vessels of but flesh and bone
that would not dare to dream
I could not feel, they could not know
they were but what they seemed.
But in this one, upon her raft
afloat within the mists
I find the will and too, the craft
and so she deeper drifts.
This one would be my masterpiece
such eager, fumbling skill
This one would give my soul release
As I become her will
She feeds me all I would desire
yet still I offer more
She knows this thing I would require
when footsteps fall to shore
I sing to her that I may know
her gentle sirens call
So soft a song and yet it grows
still sweetest of them all.
With but a pause to offer deeper
drinking of my well,
I would not rouse the sleeper
lest I disrupt the spell
Yet try as though I know I must
I could not break away
Within the calmness of this trust
I knew that I would stay
and so I sat to ponder
at these new translucent strings
I sat to watch her wander
in state of blissful dreams.
It seems the thing I sought to feed
now draws me deeper still
until the want becomes the need
I would not question will
As any muse I cannot see
all things that come to pass
we dance, we sing, we spin, we weave
and pray the seed holds fast
Perhaps in the placement of
my articulate design
She offered me but purest love
my devices, no longer mine
So lay a while my darling pet,
call fingertips to touch
the moon is rising higher yet,
our music is enough
And so my vigil ever kept
Still lost within her sea
I knew somehow, I must have wept
at the beauty of my dream.
© Melissa Black 2014