Sunday, August 8, 2010

Writing Poetry

What the Old Cattleman sez in Wolfville, about the struggle of writing poetry, is about the same way I feel about it. He sez:

"I recalls...[etc.]......I gets locoed lovin' this girl I goes bulgin' out to make some poetry over her. I compiles one stanza; an' I'm yere to remark it's harder work than a June day in a brandin' pen. Ropin' an' flankin' calves an' standin' off an old cow with one hand while you irons up her offspring with t'other, from sun-up till dark, is sedentary compared to makin' stanzas."

The Old Cattleman goes on to compose his stanza, but I'm still tangled up in mine, not knowing if it has to rhyme or contain so many lines. Where do I begin, where do I end, what goes in the middle? Does it have to sound like a song, with the wording all rythmical and pouty? Whew! Let's begin:

"There once was a man from Clyde,
Who fell through a hole in the outhouse and died.
Along came his brother,
Who slipped through another,
And now, they're in"terred" side-by-side."

Man oh man, that was a tough one! But I think it is limericky instead of poetry, and next time don't be so raunchy.

The Old Cattleman knocks out his four-line stanza and says:

"I'm plumb tangled up in my rope when I gets that far, an' I takes a lay-off. Before I gathers strength to tackle it ag'in, Jenks gets her [the girl he's writing the poem for]; so bein' thar's no longer nothin' tharin I never makes a finish. I allers allowed it would have been a powerful good poem if I'd stampeded along cl'ar through."

My feelings eggzactly.

Thanks to Ron Scheer of for steering me to Alfred Henry Lewis and Wolfville, which I'm getting a real kick out of, since I like that kind of writing - Lewis's, not mine.    


  1. Delighted that you have found the pleasures of Wolfville. For my money, everything that comes out of the Old Cattleman's mouth is poetry.

  2. Agree, and today publishers seem to reject anything containing dialects or local jargon.

  3. Oscar!

    I have to admit... you had me giggling!


  4. Next time, a belly laugh, maybe.