Finding the Perfect Word

Finding the Perfect Word Copyright 2019 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
Word variations for “To a Swallow” line 18.

Finding the perfect word for a line is like picking the perfect blossom for a flower arrangement. The right flower depends on a variety of factors: amongst others, its significance, shape, size, colour, texture, perfume and impact; and so does the right word.

One must consider its definition (literal or figurative), connotations, evocativeness, rhythm, sound (for example, its alliterative power) and composition (spelling or letters)—in fine, its ability to complement, enhance and complete the poetic bouquet so as to eloquently embody and convey the theme.

What is more, in a traditional poem, this is true for every word—in every line. Traditional verse is a delicate composition of the written and spoken word—not an amorphous outpouring of thought or emotion; it requires every ounce of ingenuity from the poet to bring into being, even in its simplest incarnations.

I have a near-final draft of “To a Swallow”! I can scarce believe it; it seemed to me this day would never come!

Compositional Quandaries

For the sake of symmetry, I am considering sacrificing the final verse from the “To a Swallow” draft. I may yet do so—once I assemble the selected variations into a poem and see the effect of the imbalance—but for now, it remains.

The poem has a traditional rhyming scheme: ABAB CDCD EFEF GHGH IJIJ. The asymmetry is created by lines 12 (F2) and 16 (H2) that follow a similar pattern (the repetition of a word set; for example, “Da-dum! Da-dum! Da-dum!”)—an element I want to keep.

I must, therefore, either embrace the “imbalance” for the sake of evocation in lines 12 and 16 or rethink the poem structure (which strikes me as ridiculous) to satisfy my aesthetic inclinations.