I like to think that I write passable poetry. I read a lot of The World’s Great Poetry in graduate school and totally understand that I’m not Shakespeare or Donne or Milton. (Not even Dryden or Shadwell.) (Joke for English majors.)
But the modern free verse I write isn’t too bad. I work with the rhythms of speech and the sounds of words. When I try to write rhymed and metered poetry, though…well…you see what I come up with when you read the parody invocations and songs in Finding New Goddesses and the Llewellyn annuals I write for. Like this one:
Now I lay me down to sleep
Blessed Goddess, in your keep
In the morn when I awake—
Gentle Goddess, feed me cake.
Well, everyone knows that old, awful, scary, Calvinist prayer (“If I should die before I wake”), right? I figured it needs some cheering up.
Many of my verses are funny-bad on purpose, whereas my better stuff is carefully worked and reworked. What no one will ever, ever, ever see are the limericks I once traded with an author whose novel I was editing.
Although my son Charles (a published poet) has called me a “guerrilla poet” who has to put my poetry in my own books because no one else will publish it, some of my poems have, in fact, been anthologized. My first published poem (something totally forgettable about metaphysical love) appeared in Science of Mind Magazine in 1980. I was thrilled!