Sometimes you come up with a beautiful line or turn of phrase for a poem and then construct a not-so-beautiful poem around it.
Reading a collection of William Matthews poems, I noticed he found a solution for this. If he couldn’t make the poem worthy of the line, he gave the line its own principality and crowned it a “One-Liner.”
Here are a few “One-liners” shared in the Matthews book I’ve been dabbling in:
THE NEEDLE’S EYE, THE LENS
Here comes the blind thread to sew it shut.
But desire is a kind of leisure.
border with no country
HOW CAREFUL FIRE CAN BE
is not for fire to tell
To be warm, build an igloo
NO TRUE RHYME IN ENGLISH FOR “SILVER”
“Pilfer” is true enough for me
Insomnia, old tree, when will you shed me?
WHY I DIDN’T NOTICE IT
The moss on the milk is white
I’m sorry this poem’s already finished
Grief comes to eat without a mouth
The dead are dreaming of breathing