Verse > Robert Graves > Fairies and Fusiliers
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Robert Graves (1895–1985).  Fairies and Fusiliers.  1918.
 
46. Free Verse
 
 
I NOW delight
In spite
Of the might
And the right
Of classic tradition,        5
In writing
And reciting
Straight ahead,
Without let or omission,
Just any little rhyme        10
In any little time
That runs in my head;
Because, I’ve said,
My rhymes no longer shall stand arrayed
Like Prussian soldiers on parade        15
That march,
Stiff as starch,
Foot to foot,
Boot to boot,
Blade to blade,        20
Button to button,
Cheeks and chops and chins like mutton.
No! No!
My rhymes must go
Turn ’ee, twist ’ee,        25
Twinkling, frosty,
Will-o’-the-wisp-like, misty;
Rhymes I will make
Like Keats and Blake
And Christina Rossetti,        30
With run and ripple and shake.
How pretty
To take
A merry little rhyme
In a jolly little time        35
And poke it,
And choke it,
Change it, arrange it,
Straight-lace it, deface it,
Pleat it with pleats,        40
Sheet it with sheets
Of empty conceits,
And chop and chew,
And hack and hew,
And weld it into a uniform stanza,        45
And evolve a neat,
Complacent, complete,
Academic extravaganza!
 

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