One Stanza Poem O058

Chivalric Knights of days passed –
Bore two main types of weapons
With which they slew hearts –
Those made mainly of woods and metals –
And those comprised of words and petals

07.09.95

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Copyright by Minh Tan on listed dated of completion
and published in Perspectives, ISBN 0-9686250-0-2.

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Notes to this poem…

This is just a simple poem of a true statement on what it meant to be a knight in days past when they actually wore armour and had manners of true gentlement. It stemmed from my recognition one day of how the words “words and petals” was a good rhyme to “wood and metals”, and then it was just a matter of finding a use for the rhyme. Apparently, it didn’t take long for me long to make the connection to knights if I wrote this short poem in a day.

In thinking of words and petals, I was in my romantic writing mode. Being the type who doesn’t give flowers for romantic purposes without a poem I had written, I consider myself to have chivalric traits at levels comparable to those knights in days of lore. Metals were then easy to associate with knights so I followed through to try to create a metaphor and I got it with the weapons used to slay hearts. Of course, I am talking about two different types of weapons, slaying hearts in two different ways and of two different types of “victims” in writing this poem, but that only made it a stronger metaphor rather than hinging on something flimsy and weak of a concept.

It’s not exactly noble for any poet to be admitting any poem came out of noticing a rhyme and working backwards from there to find something that fit and maybe even getting an idea from it like here. Poetry was not meant to be written from a rhyme and finding everything else to build around it. However, I have written more than my fair share of poems that way. The difference between me frowning on the build a poem around a rhyme and me doing so is not hypocrisy, though. You see, I still scrutinize the product arising to make sure its strength as a poem was strongest on the rhyme. Rather, I only kept these sorts of poems I had written where I considered the rhyme to be the weakest part of the poem, where it is almost absent in terms of presence to the reader. If the metaphor for this poem had been weaker, for example, I would not have followed through or scrapped it all together. Of course, I’m biased on my work, but I also had knowledge of the poem starting from the rhyme, and to me, this poem doesn’t sound like it was built on that rhyme, but rather I had a good concept to start and worked to find a rhyme to express what I had wanted.

I wonder if readers out there agree.

The O-series of poems are one stanza poems composed before I got onto writing haiku and tanka, and short poetry while in action or traveling by select means like plane or ferry. These poems are 3-9 lines long with at least one rhyming couplet, and not of the short forms just mentioned. For the sake of elegance, I just called the collection One.

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