MS (8.4.1929 / Marton, Lancashire)

! Pooh Bear Learns About Enjambment

Pooh liked Autumn. Autumn means walking with a scarf round your neck and sometimes seeing your breath in the air like a silent conversation, and wet leaves underfoot and twigs going crackle or sometimes crack! which can be scary if you aren't holding CR's hand.

So here they are, walking together paw-in-hand down the path in Hundred-Acre Wood, and Pooh is humming a happy hum with words looking for it, rather like inquisitive flies that don't quite land on you, wondering if they should stay or not, and how the other flies feel if two of them land together...

'CR..' said Pooh, 'What's en-jamb-ment? ' It sounded like what happens when a wasp gets stuck in a honey jar, or perhaps a marmalade jar.

'That's a long word, Pooh...' said CR, wondering how to explain to a Bear Of Little Brain Yet Poetically Gifted, in the easiest way, when you're not too sure yourself...

'Well...' said CR at last, 'you don't really need it, Pooh, because your Hums all finish each line with a rhyme - so everyone knows just where they are....but suppose you get to the end of a line, and the line looks around like Eeyore does after a big mouthful of juicy autumn grass, and it can't see another line that wants to pair with it in a friendly rhyme.... then if you let it just go on being by itself - like Eeyore - and it's happy to be that way, if occasionally grumbly about it - that's called 'free verse'.

'So then you can just go on and on without thinking about when to stop... but then if you write it down so that other people can read it without getting out of breath, what 'free verse poets' do is like turning over the page of a book and wondering what's coming - like, is there a scary illustration on the next page, or a Surprise, or only a few lines and THE END - what these poets do, is to treat the lines the same way as pages, so that at the end of each line, you wonder a little bit more than usual, what's coming in the next line... instead of yawning and wondering if it's time for A Little Something...'

'I see..' said Pooh, in the way you do when you're a Very Polite Bear but don't really see, not yet anyway...

Then he remembered that poem by Rupert Somebody that CR had told him was an Extended Metaphor, which had that memorable line which the Poetic Bear could have written himself: '...and is there hunny still for tea? ...' though of course Pooh was always careful, himself, to have a line of hunnypots up there where you could see that the future was golden and hunny-coloured...

'CR...' said Pooh in that happy feeling when the brain seems to sorting things out for you, '...so if you wrote carefully in a book, '... and is there hunny still for tea? ...' you could write it with the first line

...and is there...

and people would wonder what you were going to ask them... or

...and is there hunny...

and they'd wonder, what you were asking about hunny; or

... and is there hunny still...

and they might be suddenly worried that the hunny had run out; or just

...and is there hunny still for tea?

which tells them exactly what you're thinking without making them think too much? '

'Exactly! ' said CR (though it sounded more 'exackly' because he was happy and excited) ' You really are a Poetic Bear, Pooh! '

And he squeezed Pooh's paw in a Specially Friendly fashion, and a hunny-coloured glow filled Pooh, as one more Useful Thing about Poetry was put into place...

And as they returned home for a Little Something, Pooh was humming a hum with words flying curiously around it, which would be his first Free Verse Hum With Enjambment which grown-up poets would read with that little extra interest, as they came to the end of each line, and know that it was written by W.Edward Bear Esquire, Poet...

User Rating: 2,5 / 5 ( 16 votes ) 4

Comments (4)

Absolutely brilliant, 'Mike'....have you read The Tao of Pooh? Very enlightening...
Very enlightening, Michael. :) Philosophers should study Milne and all his characters in Hundred Acre Woods...and Pooh in particular. Well, and I guess I should change that to 'poets should study Milne.' We can learn a lot. Well done. Raynette
Very good and very funny. I really enjoyed it.
Wonderful! A real delight - because not only am I a huge fan of poetry, but I love Pooh Bear. You made me smile, that's for sure.