You say tomayto…

©2022 Michael Raven

There are times I feel like I have no business writing and posting my writing online.

One of those times was yesterday, elsewhere, when someone paid me what I assume they meant as a compliment. It was for the following bit of doggerel I had written:

shoe dangling 
while she writes
verse
in the park

unable to
tear eyes
away

“Nice septolet,” was the comment.

I’ve made it no secret to anyone visiting this site that I once paid more attention to form, but that I’ve gone out of my way to forget most of it. Useful stuff, but ultimately, not something that drives me to write. I draw no inspiration from trying to match established poetic form — even metered and patterned rhymes, arguably the most basic of poetic forms, are something I generally avoid, and almost everything is free-verse anymore (with the rare haiku) This was a form I had never encountered before, however.

I looked it up, wondering what I had stumbled on in accident. Believe me, there was zero intent other than to play around with an image playing pong in my head.

A septolet, for the equally oblivious is: a poem consisting of seven lines containing fourteen words with a break in between the two parts. Both parts deal with the same thought and create a picture.

Knowing what it means, I can see that I should have grokked it had something to do with 7 (at least) and maybe inferred some of the rest, but… Someone actually counted lines and words in this bit of off-the-cuff drivel!

And, while I am honored to receive the praise and the effort it took to make that assessment, “nice septolet”…

Goodness, I most assuredly am absolutely the last person who would attempt such things by intent.

And it makes me wonder if I should hang up my poetry beret — my “berry” as one waiter at a posh “European-inspired café had referred to it when I wore one “back in the day”, which only made me laugh and almost fall out of my chair while doing so after I had to ask multiple times what he had said, only to realize I had heard correctly each time (we pronounce it “bear-ay” or “burr-ay”, stuck in the middle of nothing as we are in Minnesota). Another story from my wayward youth…

I will say I wanted to correct this person’s understanding. I had not written a septolet, I wanted to inform them — I had written a bit of drivel that had already exceeded my attention quota.

Nervous laughter ensues as I look for some woodwork to fade into.

5 responses to “You say tomayto…”

  1. As someone trying her hand at poetry for the first time this year, I have found joy in playing with some of the formats. However, I’m also learning that it’s a) impossible to judge others poetry and b) that’s not the point.

    I really, really enjoy the way you write. Playing with images and words to create new thoughts and interesting connections. I’m inspired by the way you see things and really hope you never stop.

    Liked by 1 person

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