Elegy for the Elegy (poem)

(by Daniel R. Jones)

I.
Once, our books were all adorned
with metric verse and strict, fixed forms.
Odes and sonnets and villanelles,
all in time from favor fell.

Gone the sestina! Gone the haiku!
Gone the terza rima, too.
Here’s to the formal, no longer read.
the poets decided: the elegy’s dead.

II.
But what of the lilting, sonorous sounds
that came from the fabled bards of renown?
Polysyllabic and nimble and true,
scorned by the public, but give them their due.

Now we pass time, unmeasured, uncouth,
the dearly departed verse of our youth.
But here’s to the formal, no longer read.
The critics have spoken: the elegy’s dead.

III.
For quatrains and ballads, I have plead.
And though those forms be considered dead,
I care very little what the literati said,
as long as I live, they will be read.

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