Bush Poetry Writing Tips Lesson 3


Most poets, particularly in the early stages, concentrate mainly on the rhyming word at line’s end. Certainly this is an important word, as good rhyme is essential to Bush Verse.

Every other word of the poem, however, is also important. Every word helps carry the poem through a logical progression to a suitable conclusion. Each word should make sense, be of the right stress to fit your chosen pattern, and flow smoothly. Sometimes I change a word two or three times, even though each makes sense and is of the correct stress.

Try not to use the same word too often, particularly in close proximity ‑unless it is a deliberately repeated phrase or line. A couple of examples, taken from my own poetry.

“Searing winds singed fragile grass and algae fouled the creek.” In place of “fragile” I might have used, “flaky” …” brittle”….”papery” or “flimsy”. All those make sense and fit my stress pattern. I thought “fragile” and “brittle” the two most suitable of these. I chose “fragile” because of the preceding three words, “searing winds singed”. Brittle seemed to suggest that the grass had long been dead and past being singed by the searing wind. Fragile suggests that the grass was easily and quickly singed by the hot wind. Another example: “And I tremble at the whining sound that heralds hunters’ cry”. Instead of “whining” I MIGHT have used “shrilling” ‑‑ “droning” — “bIaring” or “screeching”. All make sense and fit the metre pattern. I thought “whining” and “droning” the best two. I chose “WHINING” because of the danger involved. This poem tells the story of brumby horses being shot from a helicopter. (Not Sky Of Death ~ printed in a recent issue of ABPA Newsletter, but The Cry Of The Lone Brumby Stallion, second prize-winner in the AWAG competition, Brisbane, I995). “Droning” might have given an impression of drowsiness, but “whining” sounded a danger signal to the horses. Even the first word is important ‑ it helps decide the stress pattern of your poem. Next issue some poetic terminology.