Sunday, April 12, 2009

Free Verse: Sometimes with One I Love

As my free verse poem, I chose Sometimes with One I Love by Walt Whitman, which you can find here. (It's really short, but I didn't copy it here because I didn't want to mess up the formatting.)

Free verse is a style of poetry characterized by lack of strict meter or rhyme but that is still recognizable as poetry by some mannerism or effect. Basically, it is sort of vague to define it, but it is any poetry without meter or rhyme. Free verse is related to imagism in that imagist poetry was mostly written in free verse, but free verse does not necessarily have to be so image-oriented. Walt Whitman, who often took his stylistic inspiration from the King James Bible, is said to be one of the forefathers of free verse.

In Sometimes with One I Love, Whitman expresses the vulnerability involved in relationships. He takes the reader through the progression of emotions after being hurt by one he loved in an almost conversational way, free of poetic frills and allowing the reader to take everything at face value. The poem is very short but contains much substance. At the beginning of the poem, the speaker cannot allow himself to get close to a lover for fear of loving without reciprocal feelings, but then reveals that he has come to the belief that there is no such thing as "unreturn'd love." Instead, it is not really up to someone whether they love or not, "the pay is certain," meaning people love or they do not, and one cannot change the mind of another. Lastly, he explains that he has come to feel this way because of his own experience with unrequited love, but that he has grown from the pain and that "out of that I have written these songs." The poem does not use complicated rhyme scheme or poetic devices (besides, perhaps, the repetition of "unreturn'd"/"return'd") to get across the message of the pain and subsequent healing that comes with love.

Through I found a poetry project in which people have taken pictures of their favorite lines of poetry sort of "in the world." There are a lot of pictures, but click on the link and check it out! A lot of them are beautiful and very cool. :) This is one with a line from Sometimes with One I Love. You can scroll to the left or right to look at other pictures. I could figure out how to include the actual photo or the page or a link or whatever on my main page, but here's the link to the project's main page as well.

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