A Prayer to Walt Whitman

A poem about the constraints of fixed form, expressing a longing to work in the medium of free verse.

A Prayer to Walt Whitman

Oh I am sick and heart-sore, hungering for sea
Which churns and tumbles, wordless, not half an hour from me.
I yearn for ocean’s freedom, to set my spirit free.

My thoughts will not stay still. How restlessly they pace
From one side to the other in this little landlocked base,
Searching, searching, searching for another time and place.

How timidly I grope towards the longer lines
Which, like estranging sea, would devastate my rhymes.
Unwillingly I stay, constrained by end-stopped chimes.

Give me the strength, Walt Whitman, to leave my verse behind,
To clamber up the cliffs and feel the quickening wind.
Batter me with your music, liberate my mind.