An Oak Flips the Bird
Storm splinters tree trunk
and gets one-finger salute.
Tree can still leaf out.
Henley’s indomitable trees are not all oaks. On a short walk to see whether the oak that had flipped the bird could still leaf out, I saw a weeping willow that did not weep and a sugar maple that was not sweet. Shrugging off storm damage, they both just leafed out.
Quick Riff on Forms and Freedom
While not so terse as a haiku, Henley’s Invictus is about as direct and succinct as formal nineteenth century poetry can be. I don’t feel expected to forgive contortions or digressions motivated more by adherence to an elaborate form than by the topic at hand. Invictus sings, and part of the appeal is that its form does not feel like a burden.
In poetry and elsewhere, adherence to forms and rules is looser nowadays. That’s a mixed blessing. Robert Frost was basically correct when he said
Writing free verse is like playing tennis w/o a net.
Tho people often try, U can’t get good poetry by sprinkling obligatory line breaks on bad prose. But there are some good poems in utterly free verse. Here are links to a few that I saw while working on this post:
– above post (on phone) or beside it (on desktop). –