On slamming poetry

Let’s slam poetry.

And I mean that quite literally.

You see I’d never understood the whole point of poetry,

I mean, making words rhyme? How hard could that be?

You put a B after C and a D and an E,

Things seem to take care of themselves- to me.

But that’s not even it, there are these ‘distinct’ types,

There’s rhymed and unrhymed, then prosed and versed,

Aren’t these terms interchangeable first?

Odd laments and loud odes are all separated with silly names,

Everything so categorically distinguished when they seem to mean all the same.

Oh! And Shakespearian scripts had these incredibly long sonnets;

Which were somehow cheated into being just 14 lines of text.

Odes and Octaves, Haikus and Hymns,

They term it all poetry, no matter what way it’s put in.

So when I came across this new type called slam poetry:

I found it quite interesting, it really did amuse me.

There are so many things wrong about the whole notion of verses,

And I’m trying to be polite here, trying to hold back my tongue on some curses.

But when similes charge unnecessarily like armed soldiers at playgrounds,

It terribly disarms me, I’m pretty sure the logic just isn’t sound.

We have oxy-morons which provide a dull gleam just before

The sun sets to destroy all light with a metaphor.

Next, repetitions with the poet writing the same word again and again and again,

What profound enlightenment from the third do we gain?

Also, the personification of objects- isn’t that a schizophrenic absurdity?

And given a million days I will never comprehend a hyperbole.

Worse still are the atrociously administered alliterations;

They make one question the wholesome concept of poetic licence.

And yet sometimes just sometimes, the words string together.

Sometimes, when everything is silent, these words scream loud and clear.

The flick of our hips when reading Maya Angelou’s Phenomenal Women?

The shock when the Ancient mariner shoots the albatross in the blink of a second.

Ernest Henley’s ‘Invictus’ can pull a limp man up to stand,

While ‘If’ can change one’s every sinew every strand.

We can wander all we want, wander lonely as a cloud,

Or choose to walk the road less travelled by,

Poetry will still catch up by the arm, turn us around and speak out loud.

Tell us to just listen, then the verses will explain why.

Because it has never been about making ends round right.

It’s just bringing what’s left out to light.

The rhyme scheme, the arrangement, they just let things be.

Because poetry is a lot more than what we see.

– Swathi Chandrasekaran
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