Margo Roby, for her Tuesday Tryouts, http://margoroby.wordpress.com/2011/10/04/tuesday-tryouts-poetic-counterpoints/, asks us to explore using counterpoints in poetry by building a list of around ten contrasting but parallel elements, items, or themes. (Piece of cake.)
Contrasting pairs list.
Single / married / divorced
good / evil
religion / agnostic / atheist
black / white
peace / war
work / unemployment
diet / exercise
fight / flight
tell / keep quiet
notebook / computer
life without parole / electric chair / lethal injection / firing squad / Madame Guillotine
So far, so good; except some idiot included triplets and stuff along with his pairs. (Okay, so I threw a few in there just to get Margo’s goat—but I will be writing a poem in the near future on the last item in the list—written from the point of view of the executioner’s axe).
Update, to the above. That poem refused to wait. It demanded to be written NOW, and then had the audacity to take off in an unexpected direction. It can be seen here: https://thepoetsquill.wordpress.com/2011/10/05/the-executioner%e2%80%99s-axe/.
Now, select one set from the list to play with and freewrite for about ten minutes on each side. I picked the one I’m struggling with right now. I won’t bore you with my freewrites. Heck, I feel asleep twice while doing them. Instead, let’s go to the magnificent poem they generated—yeah, right.
WHAT TO DO
by Mike Patrick
The anguish of indecision.
Whether tis better
to caress smooth, sensuous keys
or hold a clunky stick.
Should one’s view encompass
crisp, sharp letters on a brightly lit screen,
or illegible scribbles on ink-stained paper
within the glow of candlelight?
Thoughts come so quickly.
How better to capture them?
Sixty words a minute,
And thoughts arrived confused,
must be rearranged.
With computer, perfection is clicks away:
With pen . . . it may take all day.
But when, at last, the poem’s done
and ready to be judged,
a search begins for postage stamps,
or an email sends it on its way.
Oh, the anguish of indecision,
when so much is waiting to be writ.
Oops, my computer’s crashed,
where the Hell’s my pen.