Length of Poetry (“Within, Without” and “Blind”)

Often, poets find themselves falling into one of two categories.  They either write glorious, long works, or they prefer shorter, tighter pieces.  The two groups often detest the other, not understanding how they function.  The long winded poet may look to the micro-poet and wonder how they can be satisfied with 4 short lines.  However, the micro-poet may look to the poet who writes 800 word pieces and insist that they are verbose, not understanding why they could not be satisfied with a more simple description.

The truth here is that both are justified in their own rights.  I too, have written pieces of considerable length as well as short little bits.  Sometimes 4 lines is enough, but it depends entirely on the vision.  Often you will find a shorter piece will have a tighter rhyme scheme, whereas the longer works may feature a more loose design.  I will offer a few examples of my own work for comparison.  Take for instance the piece “Within, Without”.  It is 4 lines exactly, written in a perfectly balanced syllabic form, following the AABB format.  This piece is complete, no further information is required, its message is clear and concise.  Now compare that to a piece such as “Blind”.  This piece is complete, but a bit longer, of moderate length and non-rhymed.  There was no way to display properly what I sought in 4 short and sweet lines of verse.  So which is better?  I could not compare the two, as they are completely different in theme, style and image.  Granted, neither of these two are among my better works, yet they will suffice for the purposes required today.

Write what the piece requires of you.  Do not seek to stifle it, shorten it, or force it to conform to some rigid format you have decided it belongs in.  Allow the piece to write itself.  If it takes 10, 300, or 1000 words, give it what it demands.  If a piece does not fit into a neatly rhymed form, don’t force it.  Allow it to be, to display perfectly the image you seek.  Only then will you be true to your art, and true to the piece itself.  Both aforementioned pieces are displayed below, I do hope you enjoy them.

Within, Without

There is a stillness to the air
in the place where all is bare
No other soul to see the self
rooted seeds in glowing dells

© Melissa Black, 2015 All rights reserved.


we are all blind
walking in our circles
trapped in our futility
we are lost
to walk in darkness
masquerading as light
where man cages the black
hiding from himself
I will not walk
your painted path
I will not follow
my father
and yours
I will embrace the nothing
to walk free of circles
and see the unseen truths
I will sing your lies into oblivion
as I become myself

© Melissa Black, 2015 All rights reserved.


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