False Verse

I have two kinds of poems in the pile: those based on a truth, however faint and hiding behind paint and glitter to make it more interesting, and those based on nothing. Often the nothing verse is technically better because I wrote it in school, carefully, for a grade. One of my nothing poems that I’ve lost now was about a beach in Rhode Island, where I’ve never been, and the professor, an acclaimed poet, said it was good. When I revealed the lie (because someone said the color of the water was wrong), he laughed and gave me an A. I felt good about that back then; I don’t now. (I wish I still had that pome however.)

The reason my poetry was often based on lies/nothing in the early years is because I hadn’t done anything yet. I hadn’t gone anywhere. There was no drama in my life, no big heartbreak. The poetry professors agreed with me that poetry could be fictional; only other students thought this was breaking some rule. I never questioned my own stance back then, since the professionals were on my side. And yet… and yet…

I’ve changed my mind, at least with respect to my own work. When I reread my old poems, I immediately know which is which. The false verse is hollow and dead on the page, no matter how “good” it is. It has no emotional resonance to me, no layering. But when I read one of the truthy poems, I feel the truth again, however old and buried. I know exactly what inspired me to write that pome. Of course I don’t know what someone else would feel reading it (maybe nothing ~ maybe they’d feel more reading one of the false verse poems), but the point is that I know.

I haven’t written false verse since I began writing poetry again several years ago. No matter what I write about now, something in the pome is true, even if it’s just one line or one emotion. These aren’t just words strung together for a grade ~ they actually mean something. Also, the old pomes I poast here for my loyal blogfans are the true ones only. No false verse for you.

Happy May! ❀

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8 responses to “False Verse

  1. “Pome” and “poast”? Not criticizing or correcting. Wondering.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I totally get the distinction between poems about yourself and the false ones. I like reading the ones about you. I identify with them. False poetry is art, but is more shallow.

    John Lennon used to compare his songs with Paul McCartney’s songs. John’s songs were almost all about himself. They all were deep and hit me on an emotional level. In his song, “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away”, when he sang about “feeling two foot small” I identified with that raw feeling that came from his heart.

    Paul mostly wrote stories about other people. Pleasant to listen to, especially with beautiful music, but not deep. I never really GARA about Lovely Rita or Lady Madonna. I enjoyed those songs on a different level.

    Paul would occasionally write about himself, for example, Let It Be, and that’s one of my favorite Paul songs. I’m always lifted up when I hear the part at the end, where he sings:
    And when the night is cloudy
    There is still a light that shines on me
    Shine on till tomorrow
    Let it be

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Reading as much non-fiction as I do, I am often known to remark, even about events and people that seem totally fictional, “You just can’t make this stuff up!.” I guess some people do, though, and generally we call these people fiction writers, or maybe liars. The point I’m trying to make here is that the world, and specifically the literary world, has and needs both types.
    Personally, I often can’t tell the difference between the two, in literature or IRL.
    The other part of my theory here, based on your experience described above and my own as well, is that our younger selves of course have to fantasize about places we’ve never been, people we’ve never met, etc. I, too, wish I could find one poem that I remember writing, at an even earlier age like in 6th grade or something, titled something like “If I went to …” It had many stanzas and they all rhymed!
    So. just maybe, there are writers and other people out there who can still think and write fictionally but, because they have maintained a sense of innocence, or possibly immaturity, that still write unbelievable fantasies that may still be considered to be good lit. Those who still live are what we might call dumb, innocent and/or naΓ―ve people, who get hurt a lot IRL, or, conversely, are not able to see how backward they still are.
    Long way of saying that I agree with you generally, that in most good fiction, the reader can still find something that relates to his/her own reality. Wish I could say that about “Girl on the Train” but maybe Paula Hawkins and other writers of that ilk/genre, generally women who write (historical) semi-fiction, have just not matured as much as you and I. But dammit, they still make a lot of money from their immature works of fantasy, don’t they?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I draw a bright line between novels and poetry. I didn’t use to, but I see now that “real” poetry is more powerful, at least for me. When I’ve made up fake poetry, it’s pretty meaningless, though it can be funny. The emotional impact verse however only reads good to me later if there is truth in it. The truth can be in the emotion, not necessarily in the setting, but it must exist for me now, somewhere in there. My poetry lately is “all about me.”

      Novels and short stories? Eh, those can be 100% fantasy, if well-written. I’m fine with that!

      Liked by 1 person

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