Vers Libre!

In plain talk!

Modernists dubbed vers libre.

To break the pentameter

And the metrical foot;

To free!  ala vers libre,

To say what you want;

To open the lines to a free-form of font;

To write concretely of things, and not of ideas;

Basically, to write what the hell that you want!

”I ate the plums

You put in the refrigerator,

Which I know you wanted;

But shit! they were so damn good!”

(From a love note,

By William Carlos Williams

To his very hungry wife.)

How nice!

A green wheel-barrow

Sits upright in the garden.

It gathers freely offered rain

That the rainclouds freely give;

And it holds!

It’s a damn good wheel-barrow!

Though it’s getting rusty.

(So much depends on a green wheel-barrow.)

And think of Bukowski!

he fought the fight,

crossed over the edge,

just so’s to write –

A N Y    G O D – D A M N E D    T H I N G

O R   I N   A N Y   W A Y

T H A T    H E    W A N T E D !

Viva Verse Libre!





(revised 12Jan12)

©Marvin Loyd Welborn 2011



  1. This is going to be a fun prompt … the first desecration — and the birth of European poetry — was when troubadours overwrote church hymns with bawdy lyrics: conductus about cunt. Vers libre is the life that cannot be contained, defiant of fences, conventions, poetics. Culture is all about genres; creativity, about turning them on their respective asses, mixing things up. One thing does become clear to me, though, is that while we can choose to go anywhere we damn please nowadays, that doesn’t mean anyone necessarily cares to follow. (My take on Bukowski.) … Great poem, Tink — Brendan

  2. Interesting synchronicity here–just read those two poems a night ago while combating insomnia with my Norton Anthology, and after reading Marvell, Donne, Hopkins and Swinborne–totally get your point here, and yes, it *is* taboo to hint that maybe there is something to be said for rhymes and form and meter. I like both, and write both, but my wheelbarrow is only used in the garden. Enjoyed this much.

  3. I hate that plum poem, don’t understand the wheelbarrow one, and think Bukowski is the most over-imitated, overglorified poet in history. But I do love free verse!

  4. This was wonderful.. Simply wonderful..Viva la poet that truly expresses himself..

    I very much enjoyed this.. indeed.

  5. I love Carlos Williams – and that red wheel barrow has been in many poets’ verse garden – well in mine anyway. I love free verse and I love form. Whatever works for what you got to say, that’s what I think. Mine is a departure for me today. I’m going to try some more, though. I always wanted to follow eecummings’ bread crumbs for a short walk into the woods. 🙂

    Liked the way you gathered the elders in tribute here!

  6. Amen, and a high five to boot! This was much more fun than I thought it was going to be. We might have to blame Sheila and Kellie for creating some real poetic monsters!


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