Monday, July 14, 2008

Sometimes Short & Simple Is Harder

Recently I had a thirteen-word poem accepted by Babybug magazine. This four liner about building a snowman had as many drafts as the myriad seeds in a milkweed pod. The rhythm and rhyme had to be perfect. The plot had to appeal to an active two-year old. No uneven meter, slant rhymes, or description sans action. Tall order. Where did I go for inspiration?

Mother Goose. Confession time! I cribbed from the concept and cadence of "Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker's man." Rhythm? Rhyme? Action? Most of Mother Goose excels in all three - the reason for her lasting appeal.

I'm working on a new poem about bathtub boats. Perhaps I'll call upon the Mother Goose Muse again. This time the action might be splashing to make waves. Or pushing a boat down to sink it. Let go and pop, it rises to float again. Physical principles for two-year olds?

I already have pages of revisions. Short and simple ain't easy - or fast.


  1. Wonderful news from Babybug! No one should ever think the shorter the easier. When every word counts, every word counts! Making it look easy is a gigantic task that takes skill, talent, and time.

  2. That's why they say haiku is the hardest writing of all.

    An old silent pond...
    A frog jumps into the pond,
    splash! Silence again.
    by Basho (1644-1694)

    Pish! I could write that.
    But then again, maybe not.
    Sigh--back to my book.
    by J.L. Finnell (19??-20??)

  3. That is why I write novels. Congrats on Babybug!!

  4. Oh yeah, I forgot to say congrats to Gale! :-)

  5. Sometimes???? Short and simple is harder????

    It's very easy to write something short. It's very hard to write something short well.