If rhyme is a trap, then music is a prison —
A walking toward coercion from an open, nice
“Yes, I would like to hear that twice,”
While doors behind are closing into precision.
Ears are cruel; they want just spirals for performance,
Imposing their cochlea on innocents who drift
Up those narrowing stairwells to a sudden cliff,
Stranded in a ringing over an enormous.
NOTES For Students of English
British poet William Blake (1757-1827) in his introduction to his prophetic book Jerusalem wrote about rhyme as a kind of trap: “I considered a monotonous cadence, like that used by Milton and Shakespeare and all writers of English blank verse, delivered from the modern bondage of rhyming, to be a necessary and indispensable part of verse. But I soon found that in the mouth of a true orator such monotony was not only awkward, but as much a bondage as rhyme itself.”
British poet Robert Graves (1895-1985) in turn commented on this view of Blake’s: “The criticism of Shakespeare’s blank verse is willfully obtuse; and Blake has confused the orator and the poet. An orator may well be ‘fettered’ if forced to dress his legal arguments in metre and rhyme; but ‘fetter’ implies slavery. Shakespeare, like every true poet, accepted the Muse’s yoke in the spirit of Ecclesiasticus: “An ornament of gold is her yoke, /And her traces a ribband of purple silk.”
It is not as though anyone had ever been fettered by Blake’s own rhymes — by his ‘Tyger, Tyger, Burning Bright’…” (From “The Road to Rydal Mount,” one of the Clark Lectures given by Graves 1954-1955, sponsored by Trinity College, Cambridge, UK, and published as essays.)