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Page 245

Here are some words that don't look much like poetry.

Perhaps with repetition...?
Here are some words that don't look much like poetry.
Here are some words that [still] don't look much like poetry.

Perhaps some silly puns?
Here are some words that don't look much like poetry.
I think that I shall never never know a tree
That's not endorsed by critic or by Noetry.
(You know – a Noetry Public.)

Maybe a twist of thought?
Here are some words that don't look much like poetry.
But then poetry never does look like poetry.
There's one thing that no one ever expects:
Poetry!...and also the Spanish Inquisition, so, OK,
there are TWO things no one ever expects: Poetry and
the Spanish Inquisition...and a bright red autumn leaf
lifting off the branch, a butterfly! (Or just the bright red –
isn't that surprise enough?) Anyway, haiku poets seem
endlessly surprised at petals and leaves that turn out to be
butterflies. OK, that's three things or four. And counting.

Perhaps this is ALL poetry; call it "perhaps poetry,"
or, as the French so succinctly put it, Peut-etre.

OK, five things: All those others and this turning out to be,
not only a poem, but a passionate, heart-rending experience.
What spans the gap between margins? The span
is ink!...who is it, John? Aha! It's the Spanish
Inquisition! It will torment you until you can see
that this is poetry. Here are some words that don't
look much like poetry. Too plain (Dactylic Tetrameter
being no match for Iambasaurus Rex). Plain words try to hide
on the blank page, for what could be plainer than a blank terrain?
The Inquistion will torture it to hectic semblance of life –
hours on the rack will make us visionaries. Terrain is pain;
mainly plain, defying our most ardent prayries.

Here are words that don't look much like poetry. Line
by roaring lion or boring rain on the pane where the
lion has lain tonight (a way of whimsy)

If you hate forced puns passionately, move with me
to the next, more serious page. It will be a passionate
moving experience.

Note: A few of the strained puns above: "Spanish Inquisition" leads to "The Span is ink!...who is it, John." (Well, if you say it fast....) The first line above is dactylic tetrameter: HERE are some WORDS that don't LOOK much like PO-e-try – no match for iambic (which we're more accustomed to recognize as poetic beat). I refer to iambic as Iambasaurus Rex because, like Tyrannosaurus Rex, Iambic rules (in English poetry).

I seem to recall having something to say in all this. The crux, I suppose, is the idea that poetry need not (and often does not) look like poetry. A great deal of poetry looks like what people expect poetry to look like, but what has lasted in poetry, music, painting, any art form, is often work that, when it appeared, was dismissed as beyond the pale. So poetry, like Monte Python's Spanish Inquisition", is what no one expects, and this poem does repeatedly interrupt itself with perhaps unexpected and tortuous (like Inquisition theological subtleties designed to entrap) word play. Here the role of the poet is Inquisition torturer, tickling or goading some truth or inanity out of blankness. Perhaps I meant"hours on the rack" to allude to the book racks for poetry journals in some book stores. I don't think I did, but if it does that for you, I'll take the credit for it. There's also the play on "hide in plain sight" and the page, in its blankness, being plain, and, if "plain sight", perhaps the opposite of visionary (having special sight).

"Mainly plain" – shades of My Fair Lady and the rain in Spain. "A way of whimsy" suggests the song "Wimoweh" in which "The lion sleeps tonight". Lions snuck into the poem in the guise of lines.

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