Select six words,
cut fresh, suitable
for a poem. Arrange in rows.
Add ingredients to make a line
of each, a dash of rhyme.
Season to taste.
It bears repeating that this dish will taste
best if the words
you use are cut fresh. Rhyme
dried slow in sun may be able
to serve in a pinch, but never canned. Align
rhyme, fresh or dry, with care. A rose,
you may be sure, is a rose is a rose is a rose,
but repetition for the sake of repetition will taste
bitter even in a line that is a line
of genius. A few words
well placed are capable
of making rhyme
and rows of roses able
to give attentive readers a taste
of sweet perfume even in words
that have steeped too long in the alkaline
brew of Shakespeare varied by rote. A line
of five iambic feet done up in rhyme
still works in Southern dialect; but words
are staccato thorns on a Northern rose.
Still, a good cook who adjusts to local taste
without pandering to the crowd is able
to hit on suitable
ways to introduce a line
now and then to transform taste.
In the end, this has less to do with the rhyme
or the reason of the poem, the aroma of the rose,
or the art of the poet than with the words
themselves. Let the words sing. They are able
to etch rime on trees in winter with nothing more than icy fog, line
after line of rose after rose in summer. Wait. Season with self, sparingly, to taste.