Philip Quinlan: Bad Form

Iambic is an amphibrach.
Trochaic is another.
Start at the end and count them back,
or measure, if you’d rather.

A poem which has feet, has legs,
so leave the metre running
Imbibe the rhyme and drink the dregs,
use kenning if you’re cunning,

or, if a nonce, use coining, too,
and slant, if you are able.
The muse sits in the room with you,
her feet upon the table.

Prosody, prosody, all is prosody,
the more arcane, the better.
What? You don’t know? You nobody!
You man of little letter!

A sonnet (being succinct, and so
not suited to the amateur)
needs lines which line up (pas de trop),
not spasmodic pentameter.

Vers libre, on the other hand,
is not a form as such,
where blank verse is, you understand?
It rhymes sometimes, not a lot.

An antiphon will answer back,
a riddle merely question.
Sestinas aren’t for the humble hack;
repeats mean indigestion.

Eschew the limerick, and shun
the clerihew and sapphic:
The former two just are not done,
the latter . . . too . . . well, graphic.

The palindromic diptych, though,
one recto and one verso,
will double-take you like a pro
(contra, if you prefer so!)

All kinds of hells are terzanelles,
and ghazals will reheat them.
Acrostically, this stanza tells
how good it feels to beat them.