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January, 2008


Lyrically Speaking
Of flow and rhythm
By  Stan Grimes

Poetry and song are akin so write with your heart, but remember form, rhythm, rhyme.
Lyrics are a very personal and intimate form of poetry that express a writer's deepest thoughts and emotions. Sometimes known as sonnets, odes, or elegies, lyrics are song-like, generally rhyme, and most often are set to music. We call them songs. Brilliant deduction, eh?

Years ago, I wrote a lyrical poem and submitted it to an American Song Festival contest. Happily, I came in second place (Folk Category) and won seventy-five bucks. Hey, back then seventy-five bucks was, well, seventy-five bucks. The way I did it was probably a little unconventional – I thought of a song written by Arlo Guthrie and hummed it while making up my own words. (The contest was just for lyrics, so the only thing submitted were the words . . . in case you were thinking, "Hey, that Stan is a plagiarizing creep.") Though unconventional, my lyrics contained a rhythmic beat and carried an emotional message. If you are a lyrical poet, you will definitely want to keep an eye on the rhythmic flow of your words. Generally, though, rhyming poems or lyrical creations have a natural flow to them, unless of course you are like Steve Martin's character in the classic movie, The Jerk. His character, Navin, had not an ounce of rhythm, not even in his little toe.

In much of today's music, rhyming is not a necessity, but flow and rhythm are. For example, below are the first four lines of a song by one of my favourite groups, Coldplay. The song is titled Yellow, and is an example of a song with lyrics that do not necessarily rhyme. Still, the flow is marvellous: 

"Look at the stars
See how they shine for you,
And everything you do
Yeah, they were all yellow . . ." (Coldplay)

Obviously the word yellow does not fit into the rhyming scheme, but if you have heard the song you will notice that just after the last syllable in yellow, the rhyme is created musically; a guitar chord provides a sort of "do" sound, which rhymes with the line before, a genius bit of creativity.
In the end, whether or not you choose to rhyme your lyrics is not as important as what you are trying to say. What is your message? Many songs or lyrical poems have a political, humorous, or emotional orientation. Or your poem may have a combination of these.

There is no question you must write with your heart, but you also must remember form, rhythm, and rhyme. In other words, keep your head about you. Don't be afraid to try some new ways to say, I love you, I hate you, or this government sucks.
Okay, grab your dictionary, thesaurus and rhyming dictionary, and have at it. Have fun. It's your song and you own it. But be careful not to plagiarize a song you remember from the past – you don't want to end up in jail now, do you?

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Stan Grimes is a graduate from Indiana University and works in the real world as a social worker. He has written a number of articles for the American Chronicle and Stan has published a number of poems and short stories in various anthologies and on his website at AuthorsDen. He has published three science fiction/suspense thriller novels. His latest, Deacon, can be found at Double Dragon Publishing Inc.

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© Freelance Writing Organization - International 1999-2049

IN This Issue
The Long Life Of Poetry
Marketplaces For Your Poetry
Haiku: Highest Art
What Am I Doing Wrong?
Lyrically Speaking
Writing Poems
The Mind Of A Poet
A Poem Is A Little Path
Seeing Like A Poet
Speaking In Tongues (Excerpt)

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Writer’s Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
It’s how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Don’t plant your poem on the page
As though you’re hanging drapes;
It’s shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their “themes.”

Double Vision
A writer’s life is paradox,
It’s more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know you’ll never quit.

It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poem’s through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at

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