Yeah, I don’t think that’s right (a poem)

Today’s poem (a terzanelle) comes from a prompt in The Daily Poet, by Kelli Russell Agodon and Martha Silano: list rules that people have taught you about poetry, then break four of them. I don’t worry about other people’s rules so much when I write poems. When I have had my poems critiqued, though, a few things have come up. This particular poem focuses on the use of the word ‘but’, which some folks think is a word to be avoided. (The ‘rules’ I broke are included in the tags for this post.)

Whenever I use ‘but’ in a poem I write
the same guy says I should take it out
Yeah, I don’t think that’s right

To make things sound natural in what I write about
I have to use the words I use
The same guy says I should take it out

But I’m not trying to be clever or confuse
No, I want to communicate
I have to use the words I use

I don’t want to write something I hate
something that doesn’t ring true
No, I want to communicate

So when I present my poems to you
it can’t be unnatural or stilted
something that doesn’t ring true

It won’t be as though the flowers have all wilted
whenever I use ‘but’ in a poem I write
It can’t be unnatural or stilted
Yeah, I don’t think that’s right

(4 May 2015)