Poem number 1 in this year’s NaPoWriMo poem a day is a Rispetto – a poem comprised of 8 hendecasyllabic (11-syllable) lines, usually in one stanza.
To write this, I took an old draft of a poem about a mythical person (although I’m sure we’ve all met people like the one described in this poem). The old draft was a multi-stanza, fairly conventional rhyming poem. I cut it back, picked out what I thought were the best lines and then massaged it to make each line exactly eleven syllables. Sometimes I had to take the easy path to achieve this, such as putting in an ‘and’. But that’s what ‘poem a day’ is about – get it done any way you can in the time you’ve got.
Finally, I used some advice from the Coursera Song Writing course I’m doing. Pat Pattison says that you can influence the feel of a song by playing with number of lines, line lengths, rhyme type and numbers of stressed syllables. An eleven syllable line, being uneven, is suited to the subject of an unbalanced person. But an eight line stanza tends to give a stable feeling. So I added a stray last line, to try to re-instate the unstable feeling.
A Piece of Work (Rispetto)
She’s a piece of work and she can really hurt
Dare to cross her path and watch her go berserk
Psychotic, neurotic, taunting, hypnotic
Get in her way and, you’ll see she’s despotic
You’re flavour of the month but soon an outcast
Her rage shakes the sensors off a seismograph
Fruitcake and monster, her aim is to conquer
Get caught in her web and she’ll drive you bonkers
Full on sociopath, keep out of her grasp.
Copyright Mike Hopkins 2013