Friends of mine that are artists occasionally post a doodle that they have drawn. Unique aesthetic criteria compass doodles; the greater the artist the more interested we are in his doodles. A napkin chicken-scratching by Picasso might fetch a pretty penny at auction, but let its authenticity be questioned, valuation will be another matter. However doodles may be of interest even without the attachment of fame; in the case of friends, familiarity is often enough.
We poets doodle too. It goes without saying, but perhaps I should say, that just about anything I post at my blog is a doodle, more or less. Two years ago I assembled a book of verses I had put up at Facebook, with other pieces gleaned from those same notebooks (the book, The Rip of Gales, can be accessed via the "Books" page of my website to which the blog belongs), and, but for time constraints, I would like to put together a subsequent collection of pieces from the blog. There is a sense of accomplishment to having things in a book form, even though an assemblage of doodles is distinct from a cohesive, finished work, and usually inferior.
I've put up a smattering of things lately, this is the latest. Any of my friends who have experience in the form, already know that the precondition of rhymes that I set for myself [in this poem] creates an inherent deficit not easily overcome. A few readers will cringe at the vocabulary ("enow", "trow"), hackneyed concept ("forsake their plow"), or anachronistic invocation of deity ("thou/forsakest", "dost allow"), but the failure already was established in the original choice to utilize five stanzas with the same rhyme.
I have come to realize that the advantage to so-called formal poetry, is that we get to observe each other working in the same medium, under the same ("formal") constraints. We may note how a distinctly appointed mind handles a situation similar to what we ourselves might face. Years ago, many of us labored in solitude, not realizing others were doing it too. Facebook has opened up a great, extra-academic community.
Writing, however inspired, is always a series of choices. Where we differ is the interesting part; I have a good number of comrades who post verses on occasion and I enjoy tremendously seeing the choices they make. Mindsets are different, and—aside from questions of good or bad—we each expose unique judgement. Even—given the criteria of "Crows' Mockery," five stanzas with identical rhymes, in this case "ow" and "aw" rhymes—none of us will opt for the same words. It is perpetually exciting and fascinating to see, especially among longtime practitioners. Certain words come around again and again, and we each have developed strategies to cope when there is a paucity of rhymes available. Habits (bad or good) may account for variations; there are regional differences as well.
Different criteria move each of us; we are beholden to values we ourselves have created. A friend is appalled by my use of inversion. Yet he thinks nothing of padding his lyrics with extra words that exist merely to fill out a line. I will settle for several inversions in a stanza before I consider padding. It is not ideal; but words that make no contribution to the whole have no place in poetry. It is a question of priority, as inevitably some situation will crop up that must be solved in one way or another.
No one can assert with certainty that his or her own sense of priority, his or her own action in a given instance, is correct and better than someone else's. I am happy to believe that someone may have all the "rules" of versification perfectly mapped in mind yet still not produce serviceable verses. Time alone is arbiter. Yet, to the verse practitioner, these are matters worth thinking about, as they help to develop critical judgement.