In Poetry: Meaning of Words [And ...Rocket-belt]

In Poetry: Meaning of Words

When I write poetry, I check out the meaning of words for too often they sound the same, but once written, and if spelled wrong, in consequence, give a complete different meaning of what I had intended; this I call a moment of damage control. If my rhyme is flat, and my cadence is off, so what, I can survive, as long as the meaning of my words are not; and are as I meant them to be. Even punctuation can be off, and not do too much damage, but not so with my meaning of words, when they are off; or, is not as I intended them to be. I am not a professor, or perfectionist in/of English, nor need to be, a minor in literature is it and will do, but here is the bottom of the iceberg in poetry-the meaning of words. Write what you mean in words, and mean what the words say in writing poetry; or so I must remember for myself; or at least now and then remind myself; remind myself that poetry is the highest point or form in/of writing. Yet, sometimes I must give up something to get something, but never the meaning of a word. Well, that is how I feel anyhow. Why? it is damaging not only to me, but to the reader.

A poem on Vietnam called:

"Corporal Siluk and the Rocket-belt"

"It's a 'ell of a night
for rockets in flight,"
Private McGee reminded me?
thinkin' we're done for the day
ready to go to sleep
(perhaps, thinking about his pay).

When, out of the clear
we both could 'ear
the whistle of a rocket's thrust-
'ver-our little tin-roofed hut.

"Got to grab our rifles again,"
said I, to Private McGee-
"Steady there, ol' pal,"
half drunk, falling to his knees?;
as the rocket explodes-
somewhere, nearby
in the shrubbery.

#738 6/24/05

Dennis Siluk's new book, "Spell of the Andes," presently on http://www.amazon.com; he lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Lima, Peru. He is working on two more books, and several short stories.

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