First Lesson in Poetry

Oh, ye young gallant writers all
Come listen unto me
And I will teach the secret skill
Of writing poetry.

To make it plain I chose this theme,
To show the craft most clearly,
That dish men love most dearly.

Words correspond to cream you see,
But everybody knows
That words alone aren’t poetry,
That’s what is known as prose.

So cream alone is not ice cream
Ice gives it form and structure
In poetry the ice ‘twould seem
Is patterned pulse, or metre.

But is that all that’s requisite
To truly make the treat?
In strict sense yes –but what is it
Without some added sweet?

Some added sweetness makes you lick
Ice cream with greater pleasure,
In verse the kick that makes words stick
Is rhyme — poetry’s sugar.

And there are still more ways than this
To give your ice cream flavour,
And there is more that I can list
Of tricks good poets favour.

Alliteration and assonance
Work wonders when well wielded;
The first is done with consonants,
For the other vowels are needed.

Like chopped up chunks of chocolate
Churned right into the mixture
Some poets like a lot of it
To give the text more texture.

And let there be a fine excess
Of sprinkles and of toppings,
In lines that touch of loveliness
No half-way words should stop things.

And as the tastiest flavours are
The ones containing berries,
So verse replete with metaphor
The greatest beauty carries.

I’d say this poem in metaphor
The heights of poesie reaches,
But also does what poems are for
Delights provokes and teaches.

So if toward creativity
Your heart is ever yearning,
Apply my words in poetry
Or  your next ice-cream churning.

Farm boys 1941 ice cream


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