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Tributes & MessagesRachel Cunniffe

A poem I wrote when I was in Julia’s creative writing group in Gateshead twelve years ago. Julia taught me a lot back then.

This is hopefully a fitting and humorous tribute to Julia although we only occasionally bumped into each other over recent years.


Julia, why suggest poetic form ?

On Thursday mornings I’m too weary
to explain I also have a theory
about the meaning of words and images
and how they corrupt virgin white pages
playing tricks, just for kicks, like politics,
in a language clear as economics.
I know……. my thoughts are often disrupted
being post modern and de-constructed.
I could discuss de-centring the text
except I would not know what came next.
The thought of poems in a rigid structure
almost gives me a linguistic rupture.
I agree, I should test parameters
as I dread iambic pentameters-
I’m not lazy but I don’t have the time
to count the syllables line by line.
Must I go through hell for a villanelle,
break out in sweats over triolets
or suffer and strain writing a cinquaine ?
One day I might want to write a sonnet
only then I might find out what fun it
is to use words I wouldn’t often choose
and forgive bad rhymes, like choose and excuse.

This rhyme is drawing to a close
I think it’s time I wrote some prose.
Although I hope my message is clear
there are some things I’ve forgotten here
I’ve not mentioned onomatopoeia,
alliteration, assonance and fear
of meter, of William Shakespeare
and of verbal diarrhoea
But there’s one thing that should be understood
the discipline has done me good.

Julia, darling you were absolutely right.

With thanks

Rachel Cunniffe