Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Pecking Order: Which Came First? The Hens or Mine?

"A Conversation"
By Rachel H.
I stood in the hen-house
I'm certain I heard
A chuckling cluck-
`Twas a cozy hen-word;
A word from the beak
Of a little barred hen,
Though also, a normal-type
Cluck could have been.
But her eyes were so bright
And her feathers so gay,
I'd almost believe
That I just heard her say:
"Isn't this simply fine
Egg-laying weather?"
As she fluffed up anew
Each black-speckled feather.
When I wrote that poem last year, I thought it had turned out to be a sweet little work. Our new barred Plymouth hens had inspired it. But if I have found one con to reading as much as I do, it is the fact that everything you write has the tendency to remind you of something someone else has written. And so I could not be completely comfortable with my poem, because a little thought kept pricking me like a second conscience: "You have read something similar to that before. You know you have." I kept reasoning with myself and still do to this day: "This poem was inspired entirely by our hens...I was not copying someone else's ideas!" and it is true! I had not a thought in my head of being a pirate and recycling something that had already been written. The something I had read before turned out to be Elizabeth Maddox Roberts's poem: "The Hens" here is the sample that sounds most like my poem:
"Up in the barn I thought I heard
A piece of a little, purring word.
I stopped inside, waiting and staying
To try to hear what the hens were saying.
They were asking something, that was plain;
Asking it over and over again..."
So the question still stands....Is my work: "A Conversation" too similar to "The Hens" by a very famous author? I cannot make up my mind...certainly it has a similar flavor! I would definitely say it is reminiscent of her poem, but I have read very often of famous authors like Lucy Maud Montgomery and others admiring lines of other author's poetry, and rephrasing that line to include in their poems, or using it as a title of their book, or something what do you fellow scribblers say?Is it bad ettiquette to write a poem, unintentionally with the same style as something that is already well-read? I did not set out to make it so. At times, I can agree with the Mediocre Writer who's famous (altered) quote is Mediocre Copies of Another Writer's Genius". :) What do you think of my poem by itself? Leave a comment and let me know! :) -Rachel


Carilyn said...

If it was unintentional and you really did not know anything about the previous one written by someone famous, then you should not feel bad about it at all. =)

Horse Lover said...

haha, that's cute. Yes, I know exactly how that is, I write stuff, and I think that I thought of it myself, but then I realize, that I read something similiar in another book! So, I know how that is, ideas and scenes and characters stick in our minds, without us realizing where they came from, and later on, we write stuff that winds up sounding quite the same. I think it happens to almost every writer, however, except those select few, perhaps? Maybe not, maybe it happens to all of us. After all, there isn't anything new under the sun. :-D