Today is FREE VERSE - let me say a few things before you just leap for joy and say - "Oh goodie, no format to follow." Well, that IS entirely true - Free verse has no set pattern of rhyme or rhythm, no rules about the number of lines or how to divide it into stanzas or verses . . . or not. Everything is up for grabs and so suddenly, "Free Verse" becomes one of the easiest and at the same time, one of the most difficult forms of poetry to write.
YOU are in charge - if YOU say it's poetry, then it's poetry. Once you have finished it - read it aloud and see if it flows. If not, you can make your lines shorter - or longer - or adjust things so that when you read it aloud it becomes like spoken music. THAT'S free verse.
It can be heartfelt, silly, serious, educational, spiritual, sad or simply tell a story or relate a feeling. It can describe an object, animal, person, place or whatever you decide to write about.
Since there is no format - examples are endless. I'm going to be brave and share a favorite free verse I wrote years ago when my children were small and then I re-worked it about 7 years ago. This is one that I haven't shared much, at least not publicly - just with family and close friends. It makes me feel rather vulnerable to share it, but I really like it so here goes. PLEASE do not use it (even in a church lesson or something) without my permission. See email address when you click on "About Me"
The house is quiet.
My husband and children are asleep.
The silence of the room is interrupted
Only by the sounds I make while washing the dishes.
As I pick up each dish and rinse away our dinner,
I am reminded of the meal we enjoyed together.
The chatter of the children as they spoke of their day
Lingers in my mind and I feel a sweet contentment.
I’m nearly done when I notice my well-used cookie sheet,
Standing at the back of the dish drainer;
Even though I have washed it thoroughly,
It really doesn’t look very clean.
The evidence of so many batches of cookies baked
Over and over again until it looks tarnished and brown.
When it was new, it sparkled and shined.
Now it is discolored and scratched.
And for some reason, tonight, this bothers me.
I take the cookie sheet from its resting place and
Plunge it back into the warm, soapy water.
But I am unable to rid it of the baked-on grime.
I reach in the cupboard for an S.O.S. scouring pad
And go after the suspect brown specks with renewed vigor.
I pay special attention to the inside corners of the cookie sheet.
This proves to be especially satisfying and I continue until it shines.
It has been reborn and I can see my reflection in it.
And suddenly, I realize… I am like the cookie sheet.
I’m not dirty by any means, but perhaps,
Not quite clean enough either; I have lost some of my sparkle.
Leaning against the sink I know what I must do.
I will take upon me the S.O.S. scouring pad of repentance
And work and pray hard to be shiny and clean,
Until the Savior’s image shows in my countenance.
I plan to keep my cookie sheet as bright as it looks today
And with a few repairs here and there, and a heart full of love,
I can do the same for myself, that I might be more useful
To those I share this earthly space with.
Who knew? Sometimes, there’s not much difference between
A neglected ol’ cookie sheet and a life too busy to notice
Some of the sparkle and shine has faded.
Yes, S.O.S. pads are a beautiful thing.
~ © Stephanie Abney 2007