In the wake of the Christmas rush, I’ve been savoring my copy of FROM THE TOWER, the anthology of poetry written by my local group.  One snowy afternoon, as I was contentedly flipping through this smooth and polished collection, I turned a page and unexpectedly encountered one of my own poems.  An image something like this flashed in my brain:


I wonder if all poets and artists feel this way, like everyone else’s pieces are clear and deep and perfect while their own are… (not sure exactly what word I’m searching for here).  Anyway, the experience inspired the following poem, written in FREE VERSE.  Free verse is exactly what it sounds like – poetry unconstrained by rules or structure.  Surprisingly,
I find this form to be one of the most difficult, like trying make paper mâché without a balloon – wet, pasty strips curling and twisting in the wind.  But in this case, nothing else in my poetic toolbox seemed to fit.


I’m relaxed at last
into a groove
of demure words
waltzing over the page
when out springs
a garish gypsy
in bright scarves
and bare feet
banging on
a tambourine
Our eyes meet;
she knows secrets
that I have told no one
She twirls past
bewildered poems
in tuxedos and gowns
and steals away
leaving them
to wonder
what just crashed
through the ballroom

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  1. Tippy Gnu January 8, 2017 / 2:22 pm

    I think I’d prefer dancing with a gypsy, to ballroom dancing. Sounds like more fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan January 8, 2017 / 6:01 pm

      Thanks, Tippy. Poetry should definitely be fun. If it’s not, what’s the point of doing it?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan January 8, 2017 / 6:10 pm

      Thanks, Marissa. That’s how it looked in my head, so I guess free verse was an effective way to convey it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan January 8, 2017 / 6:20 pm

      Thanks, KE. I can’t be anything but myself, right? One member of my poetry group said he loves that I attend because I “add a bit of levity” to the meetings. I think that means I’m a goofball, but I’m OK with that. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Elyse January 8, 2017 / 7:39 pm

    I imagine it’s like hearing your own voice – it takes getting used to!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan January 9, 2017 / 3:23 pm

      Thanks, Elyse, it does. I thought I WAS used to it, but it’s totally different to hear it in the context of other voices. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Peter Klopp January 9, 2017 / 1:21 pm

    Free verse is often used by dilettantes, who do not like the constrains that form and structure demand in poetry. Having noticed how many forms you have successfully tried, I can honestly say that Flabbergasted in free verse is an amazing poem that to me is a painting not done in brush strokes but with words. Thank you, Joan!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan January 9, 2017 / 3:41 pm

      Thanks, Peter. A word canvas, I like it. For me, form is fun because having to follow the rules AND convey the message makes it challenging, a puzzle. Sometimes I’ll combine two forms to make it harder still, like the Villanelle-Elegy from last week. Most of the poets I know write free verse, and it seems like magazines and poetry journals prefer it. Weird that many of the classic poets still read today built their masterpieces on form and rhyme. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. chevvy8 January 15, 2017 / 11:28 pm

    Brilliant! the poem and seeing your work in print!😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan January 16, 2017 / 5:40 pm

      Thanks, Chev. It is cool to be part of something that will live on, on library shelves for eternity… something with a real ISBN number. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • chevvy8 January 16, 2017 / 10:54 pm

        An ISBN number, I’m impressed. Well done Joan. Have you shared that poem already?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Just Joan January 17, 2017 / 7:36 am

        My BLUE poem will release on Sunday, 1/22. The others? Maybe, maybe not.

        Liked by 1 person

      • chevvy8 January 17, 2017 / 8:35 am

        I’ll be on the look out for it! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  5. L. T. Garvin, Author January 16, 2017 / 11:05 pm

    I love Flabbergasted, Joan! It is so visual, flowing and wonderful. I think I write in free verse because I usually write “story poems”…I don’t know that is a real form, but that is what I call them. I don’t understand either how we had such beautiful rhyming classical poetry that today is shunned by literary magazines. I go through phases where I submit, then I don’t for a very long period of time. I have never made much headway with lit journals. I have also enjoyed my copy of From the Tower and your lovely poem about the trees….also very visually appealing. I can see them congregating and having that all important discussion. I have also found it very strange to see my own work alongside others. I don’t know why that is. You are an excellent poet, so you should enjoy the moment 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan January 17, 2017 / 9:11 pm

      Thanks, Lana! I like the idea of “story poems” and tend toward them myself… makes me wonder if a memoir is calling my name. I have similar phases of submitting and not submitting; I find it cumbersome to follow all the requirements, write empty-headed cover letters, etc, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. I think we judge our own work far more harshly than anyone else’s. Thanks for the compliment, I will sit back and bask in the glow 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. kamunde January 24, 2017 / 9:55 am

    It is deep in the woods… in the silence where we trudge in the maze of our imaginations. It is here that we get to feel and hear echoes of our true nature. Then we get to realize that we are never alone! I loved this poem!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan January 24, 2017 / 7:55 pm

      A maze indeed, but worth wandering in for all the insight I have gotten there. You’re right, poetry is individual but helps us to connect, to see that deep down we are not so different. Have a wonderful day, AK! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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