Poem with an explanation: How long did the falling take?

How long did the falling take?
Down a hill?
From a cliff?
How long did the falling take?

 

This poem utilizes the experimental poetry form Eighteen Words.  As can be seen, the poem has eighteen words.  Additional form elements particular to this use of the form are:

  • The first and last lines repeat.
  • All lines are questions.
  • The first and last lines each have six words. That is twice the number of words as each of the middle two lines.

This poem is about trying to understand something.  In the poem, one person is asking these questions of another.  The person asking the questions wants to understand what something was like.  The something in the poem is some sort of low state in someone’s life.  This low state could be many things.  It could for example be homelessness or addiction.  The person asking the questions is trying to understand how this state was reached.  Did it happen slowly, like falling down a hill, or did it happen quickly, like falling from a cliff?  The person asking the questions is not intending to be inquisitive or rude, they just want some sense of understanding.

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