Here is my draft poem for class this week where we read Roethke’s “Dolor”–I tell my students to check their syllable counts (assignment is 10+ this week per line); review for “cliché,” power up verbs, make sure there’s music, grounded imagery, that their politics not be too heavy handed (or to absent).
I say: Work your words. They matter.
response to this article and so much more: NYTimes Article
Sentence Diagram Dolor (draft)
after T. Roethke
I have known the relentless rules of grammar,
walls drawn between verbs and their subjects, direct
objects like trailing spouses, the burden
of adjectives describing hand sizes, pricking
nouns’ softened bellies, lead mistakes blurred
by pink erasers’ bluster, tear of ruled
paper, narrow blue lines, red cheeked errors
mudded with white out, the wet waiting to reclassify.
And I have winced at the confusion of phonics:
“big league” or did he say “bigly” to boast cuts
in taxes, regulations, speed by which we sign
protest, beg language to govern again, coordinate
bent and broken lines to unify and rise.