Dear friend

Dear friend

A Poem by Li
"

Finding lasting friendship

"
Hello, it's so nice to meet you
You've told me what you do,
Your hobbies, your family and your friends too
But tell me friend, who are you
Yes, you're very witty and smart
You've told me you like politics and art,
You volunteer at the homeless shelter
It's almost too good to be true,
You're too good to be true
and I am too excited to meet you.
But I should stop myself
I don't want to later be disappointed in me or you
So tell me friend,
Let's skip to the part where i find out something real about you,
I've seen how cool you are
But let's be realistic now
Tell me about your insecurities and your fears
Come'on now let's have those deep talks,
Show me your tears
I want to unfold your dark side
I want to see it all, your demons
That's when we will start something
Something lasting, something real
Beyond the act, beyond the cool, beyond the evil
I want to see the truth,
the truth in you my friend.

© 2019 Li


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• Hello, it's so nice to meet you

Except it’s not me you’re talking about. And I didn't tell you what I do. So my reaction to line one and two, is, "Huh?"

I don’t volunteer at a homeless shelter, and politics and art aren’t my favorites, so obviously, the wrong person is getting this missive. The speaker says that they’re thrilled to meet this unknown person for reasons not stated. How can this be meaningful to any reader but one who isn't the one being addressed?

Then, as you continue, you’re lecturing that unknown someone about things meaningful to YOU. So what context or interest does this have for me, or any reader? Why, for example, am I to believe that your advice, and approach to life, are any better than my own? You’ve given no reason for a reader to suspect your views are superior to theirs.

The problem is, you’re talking TO the reader about things meaningful to you, without having made them want the information. But what the reader wants you to do is make the subject meaningful to them on an emotional level. As presented, this is all about what you care about. But poetry is all about making the reader care. So this stranger you’re talking to be the reader—as they see it. And the things you mention as the attributes of the one you’re addressing must relate to them in some emotional way.

Look at the first stanza of The Twelfth of Never. It too, talks to the reader, but in a way that gives context. It places the reader into the role of someone asking a reasonable question of a lover, and getting a response that involves THEM, emotionally:
- - - - -
You ask me how much I need you, must I explain?
I need you, oh my darling, like roses need rain
You ask how long I'll love you, I'll tell you true
Until the Twelfth of Never, I'll still be loving you
- - - - -
Forget about making your reader KNOW. Make-them-CARE.

You also want to look more deeply into the construction of structured poetry. It’s a LOT more than tossing in rhymes now and then. Stanzas are like paragraphs, and they help organize thoughts. The structure of a stanza, being predictable, like the verses of a song, helps make the reader become a participant. The smooth flow of stressed and unstressed syllables—prosody—gives a rhythm, as does the reader anticipating the rhyme. But when it’s just a flow of mundane words, and the rhyming is simple, and unpredictable, it works against you. Look at The Twelfth of Never again, to see how the words seem to flow in a series of beats, as stressed and unstressed syllables provide a cadence.

Take a few minutes to read the excerpt to Stephen Fry’s, The Ode Less Traveled, on Amazon. It’s a very good introduction to the basics of structured poetry, and well worth the time to read.

So… I’m certain this isn’t what you were hoping to hear, but you did ask, so I thought you’d want to know.

Hang in there, and keep on writing.

Jay Greenstein
https://jaygreenstein.wordpress.com/category/the-craft-of-writing/the-grumpy-old-writing-coach/


Posted 23 Minutes Ago


I used to think of something when trying to make friends with someone. And that's, if I can ever trust him or her. The fact there is that, it's good to be expecting the worst while looking for the best. That's why I never feel disappointed even if my best friend tells me it's over. It's good to always hope for the best but I think we shouldn't forgot that life is a two sided coin.

Thought provoking piece here, Li.
Well written.

Posted 5 Hours Ago


WOW to your last 7 lines! This is deep and emotional, I really enjoyed this write

Posted 5 Days Ago


Li

5 Days Ago

Thank you,thank you.

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Added on September 10, 2019
Last Updated on September 11, 2019

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Li
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