Wallow in Wonder Poem 8: "Why Can't You Drive As Fast As You Want?"

Apr 9, 2016

Paul W. Hankins

I am very late to the game today. It's been that kind of week. And here we are. . .at the end. . .of that kind of week. You know the kind of week, right? The one where you come back to the classroom after a long break and your heart is in the break and your head needs to be back in the room. And sometime. . .around late Tuesday or Wednesday morning the whole of you is back in the room?

Maybe it's just me.

I was thinking about Wonder 1664 and the rules that is presents and the rules we might think about when it comes to writing, particularly the writing of poetry.

Syllable Counts. Line Lengths. Meters. Schemes.


One of my favorite lines from a song these days is from a song, "Stressed Out" by 21 Pilots. You know the song; it's in heavy rotation right now which means you probably hear it on the way into the store, you probably hear it in the store, and hear it again on the way home. The line goes, "I wish I didn't have to rhyme everytime I sing." And the line has no rhyme to which one can point.

It's genius, really, this violation of the expectation as one might be casually listening, bobbing his or her head waiting for a rhyme that isn't coming. You'd want to write like this sometimes. Just to keep the reader, the listener, guessing what might come next.

Maybe rules are important in the room when we want to teach a form or two just to get the familiarity. But this is what we are looking for, right? Familiarity? Just so long as familiarity doesn't become formaliarity (I think I just made that word up; I wouldn't use it out in town if I were you).


Speaking of limits. Here is an animal who tests the limits here at Hankins Ranch. I call her Not.My.Dog. Her real name is "Pepper." She has a Facebook page. She has followers. Pepper needs limits.

Here is today's poem about rules and limits:

"The Fence is the End of Your World"

All of the grass--

from the back porch to the fence--

is your world. This is as far

as you can go, but you may run

in this space as much as you want.

I've found that circles--

and zigzags--

work well in limited spaces,

and there is much to be said

for running in place.

And stopping now and then

to take in a whiff of the grass

helps to delay the fact that a fence

is the end of the journey.

There is under the fence.

You can always look under the fence.

But you musn't put any more

than your nose under the fence

lest you be tempted to follow it.

And those are the rules, really.

Back porch to fence.

Circles. Zig-zags. Smelling stops.

The world is yours.

Oh, and please try to avoid the lily patch,

the stonecrop, the cat mint, the lilac,

the ornamental grasses, the rock garden,

the basil, the oregano, and the rosemary,

the yard sculptures finished and in progress.

Other than these things,

the yard is yours to rule.

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