Life's lessons are learned in strange ways, many times tailor-made to the person receiving it. Repeating the lessons can leave listeners in admiration and awe. Mention *how* those lessons were learned can often extract a chuckle, however. I learned a lesson from noodle soup.
I used to eat Goodman's Noodle soup, chicken flavor. The box has two foil packets, each filled with a salty powder and dried noodles. About eight minutes of cooking, and a nice bowl of soup is ready. There's even the added treat of licking the leftover powder from the foil package. Mmmmm... salty powder granules.
For me, the noodles did it. When i finished the noodles, the soup was at best mediocre. And, the more noodles on the spoon, the better. As such, i got into the habit of eating less noodles at first to enjoy a greater amount of noodles at the end (typical J activity: work now, play later). I got better at this, depending on my mood, and my willingness to sacrifice the first spoonfuls to have that perceived enjoyment at the end. And it paid off. Those hearty spoonfuls at the end were fantastic.
That was when i had the Great Idea. I decided to have *all* the soup alone, a bitter task, and then dive into the dilection of straight noodle. I did it. I drank the bland soup, and the lack of noodles only heightened my awareness of the pleasure soon to come. Finally finishing from frantically feeding. And then before me lay the reward. Half a cup of noodles.
I went in for the first spoonful, a heaping full share of noodles. I tried to eat it, and spit it out. It was disgusting. The noodles were more flavorless than the soup. Yuck! So much for that. It was then that i realized that the noodles complimented the soup. The more noodles the better, as long as it remained a compliment. One it became the main part. Well, it became a tasteless compound.
I find a parallel in art and verse. Art, especially paintings, can construe reality in an odd way to evoke emotional response. Paint a face but make part of it green, or build a beautiful scene but over-blur the background, or even the foreground. The added color or non-realism adds to the affect. However, if the color becomes the main part, it is simply tasteless. It's a pretty wrapper with empty insides. Kind of like a Democrat. As such, modern art seems overwhelmingly stupid to me. Like the completely unclad, one must train themselves to enjoy it. Sure, once trained the ingrained response is had, but ultimately it is false.
Verse has similar reactions. There is a structure to verse and poetry. Whether it be rhymes or syllabic count, it is there. Use it as the main thing, and the other effects such as spacing, the occasional break, or a sentence out of the order, can heighten the pleasure. However, make it the main part, and it's silly. It's worthless. It's thought with no form, like the slashdot user that posts some knee-jerk response exposing either the socialistic or the conservative view, whichever just then satisfies his self-centered Weltanschauung.
I was speaking about this with a friend. I believe that in poems, free verse must be earned through rigid cooperation with the barriers or rhyme. Otherwise all is nothing. Kind of like this JE.