I wanted to post this in the poetry section - for obvious reasons - but sadly there doesn't appear to be a section for 'general' poetry discussion, so I'm posting it here. I have a real problem with poetry, in as much as I don't understand it. When I read fiction, I can judge when it is good fiction, and when it is bad fiction... I'm familiar with the 'rules', I can see how the structure of a sentence might be improved, etc etc. But when I read poetry - or at least try to - I have absolutely no conception of whether it is good or bad. I know when I read a poem I like, but beyond that I have no understanding regarding the various types of poetry. More so, because I'm so familiar with a particular type of poetry (the type where the final word of each second line rhymes with the one before it) I try to read all other poems using the same rhythm and end up tripping over words or emphasising a word expecting it to rhyme with one in the previous line, resulting in a 'brick wall' in my head when it fails to rhyme as expected. Here's an example of the type of poetry I'm familiar with. This is the kind of poem I can read. Suicide in the Trenches Siegfried Sassoon 1886 - 1967 I knew a simple soldier boy Who grinned at life in empty joy, Slept soundly through the lonesome dark, And whistled early with the lark. In winter trenches cowed and glum, With crumps and lice and lack of rum, He put a bullet through his brain. No one spoke of him again. You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye Who cheer when soldier lads march by, Sneak home and pray you'll never know The hell when youth and laughter go. -------- Now, first off it may help if I know what kind of poem this is. Is it a limerick, or is that term specific to humorous poems? Now, an example of the type of poem I struggle to read: Bombardment Richard Aldington 1892 - 1962 Four days the earth was rent and torn By bursting steel, The houses fell about us; Three nights we dared not sleep, Sweating, and listening for the imminent crash Which meant our death. The fourth night every man, Nerve-tortured, racked to exhaustion, slept, muttering and twitching, While the shells crashed overhead. The fifth day there came a hush; We left our holes And looked above the wreckage of the earth To where the white clouds moved in silent lines Across the untroubled blue. ------- It's not just that this second example doesn't rhyme, I simply can't fathom the rhythm at which I should read it. I can't 'feel' it and therefore don't know where or how I should be emphasising. And what's more, if it doesn't rhyme, what qualifies it as a poem beyond the formatting? To me, it just reads like a ramble, split into short sentences.