Let me start with a bit of a bellyache: the world of poetry has died, and we have killed it. The poet has lost the trust of readers everywhere - I blame free verse. Wait, I mean free prose...
The acrostic may not be the most popular form of poetry, but it is compelling when done well. And, to be honest, I haven't seen any English acrostics that are worth reading. I'm not counting Psalm 119 because it's not an English poem.
Psalm 119 is striking, and when you consider the form and the theme, it becomes more so: an acrostic made up of 22 stanzas, 8 verses each, with every verse beginning with that stanza's letter of the Hebrew alphabet; the theme is God's Law. Wait, God's Law?
One of the best known things about poetry is that lovers have used it as long as there has been love to express themselves. This Psalm is no exception. David gushes about how much he loves the commands of God. It's amazing how much he could write about something we assume is so, well, confining.
But that's just it - don't we feel that way about poetry too? And that's why free verse (prose) is so dang popular these days. Poets feel confined by the structure of form. Yet I find, when I write a sonnet, that structure gives me more help than anything. And when it's finished, that form is what makes the ideas, the themes, more compelling.
What is true of poetic form is true of God's Law as well - that which would seem most confining is what actually drives us to freedom, love, and beauty.
Don't shy away from form, often its structure inspires what would otherwise be hidden.
Read more about my theme this April in my intro to the A-Z Blogging Challenge. Or visit the home page here.