He thinks about that unholy clandestine way
He met that young man in the fray
Of nightclubs, and deleted apps
That married man is a hapless sap
And he goes home at the end of the day
To lie to his wife in all caps
But morning will come and eventually noon
When you’re a buffoon you’re a buffoon
Musing about twinks twunks and otters
He hides his gaze so not to bother
The eyes that may figure him out
Unaware that he’s been spotted in the crowd
How trivial a life written for a comedian’s fodder
Is this really what it’s all about
But dusk will come and eventually night
And when you’re right you’re right
Oh what a tangled web we weave
When we first practice to deceive
It doesn’t matter where you go
Somehow they always seem to know
Somethings are just easier to believe
And that is how we maintain the status quo
But dawn will come and eventually day
When you’re kept at bay you’re kept at bay
This week, I really wanted to experiment with a stricter form as implemented by the poets of New and Old Formalisms. I also thoroughly enjoyed—although a bit frustrating at times—finding the complimentary rhythms and rhymes throughout my own poem to construct it. I say construct because of the intentionality of this school of poetry. I found R. S. Gwynn’s poem “Anacreontic” the most compelling poem in regards to this return to form and break from previous free verse conventions in earlier modernist schools of poetry.
Overall, I found the school of New and Old Formalisms did not engage in that deeper image or meaning often associated with confessional poets. Instead, this school perfected mastery in form and created complexities within that form. For example, Gwynn’s “Anacreontic” deconstructs the couplet by framing it in AABBABCC. By the time the reader gets to line six, the expectation is a meter and rhyme that will match line 5. However, Gwynn breaks the couplet then introduces a new rhyming pattern following that break.
In my own poem, I follow Gwynn’s AABBABCC form. Christopher Beach speaks about a tension existing between form and content. I tried to harness this tension within my own poem by keeping to a form and writing an ambivalent narrative concerning infidelity, and questions of sexuality. The tension is unresolved because it is unclear whether the “married man” has been found out—and if so, then by who? In my last stanza I borrow the first two lines from Sir Walter Scott’s play “Marmion.” Lines three and four of my last stanza come from Gwynn’s “Anacreontic.” I also echoed Gwynn’s use of repetition in the last line of each stanza.
Delving into New and Old Formalisms presented challenges when trying to carry out that deliberateness of the form. Notwithstanding, that purposefulness to the form allows greater inspection into the poetry I create. I found this school illuminating in how the expertise of each of the poets seemed effortless even though adhering to a form can be quite difficult—especially considering how the meter and foot will configure into the rhyme (if there is one).