I never learned if it was good advice
Or just Kirkpatrick’s way of killing time
When he responded to my wisecrack: “Rhyme
Is far more than — your words, sir — quaint device.

“One trick will save you when the words won’t flow:
Sit down and write a dozen sonnets straight,
Six like Shakespeare for the lovely gait
And six like Petrarch for the ordered rows,

“And see if that won’t knock the blockage loose.
A good amount of work goes into rhyme.
You tell us structure grows like grapes on vines?
That’s Whitman, right? Cute. But not for you.

“Besides, how deep do grapevines grow?
Look it up later. Nod like you know.”