Taking my cue from Martin...
(Poem #187) Poetry for Supper
'Listen, now, verse should be as natural As the small tuber that feeds on muck And grows slowly from obtuse soil To the white flower of immortal beauty.' 'Natural, hell! What was it Chaucer Said once about the long toil That goes like blood to the poem's making? Leave it to nature and the verse sprawls, Limp as bindweed, if it break at all Life's iron crust. Man, you must sweat And rhyme your guts taut, if you'd build Your verse a ladder.' 'You speak as though No sunlight ever surprised the mind Groping on its cloudy path.' 'Sunlight's a thing that needs a window Before it enters a dark room. Windows don't happen.' So two old poets, Hunched at their beer in the low haze Of an inn parlour, while the talk ran Noisily by them, glib with prose.
Another slightly more explicit take on the divide between 'natural' and 'constructed' poems . "This is the nearest Thomas comes to a comic poem. He has an ear for Welsh dialogue, which he seems to use relatively rarely. Despite the imagery, one gets a real sense of the two old poets' voices in the poem as they talk over the nature of their art in a country pub. Thomas, one may suppose, is ultimately on the side of the second poet who believes that inspiration needs the vehicle of craftsmanship before it can fully come through." -- George MacBeth I tend to agree with Thomas' point of view - I've always felt that much of what is passed off as 'natural' these days is just laziness or shoddy workmanship. That said, I would be the first to admit that there are contexts in which free verse is far more apt than verse constrained by metre and rhyme; conversely, there are contexts which cry out for the use of specific forms of prosody. The true skill lies in knowing when to use which. thomas. PS. I should add (before anyone points out my obtuseness) (Hi Martin!) that the last line suddenly puts the whole poem into a new perspective - that poets, by concentrating on the how and what of writing poetry, often ignore the why .  See yesterday's poem, 'By-the-way', poem #186 for the source of my inspiration.  Isn't it amazing how so many poems stand and fall on the strength of their last lines? Browse through the Minstrels archives for more examples - http://www.cs.rice.edu/~ssiyer/minstrels/