Driftin’ – A 12-Bar Poem

My first attempt at a 12-Bar Poem. Since the form is inspired by the blues. I figured the first poem should be inspired by one of my favorite blues song: Driftin’.


Driftin’ like a ship on the sea
Ain’t nobody to care for me
Driftin’ like a ship on the sea
Stuck in the ocean so lonely

If I could only make it back
Solid land. Love I would not lack
Driftin’ like a ship on the sea
Wanting to be an escapee

Liberation from the despair
No starry night to guide just black
Driftin’ like a ship on the sea
A jail, waiting to be set free


There’s a lot of A’s to rhyme! I had not thought of that when I wrote out the form! So I repeated a line a lot: Driftin’ like a ship on the sea. I kind of like the repetition. It drives home the point, and it is in line with the blues tradition. Usually when the blues are sung, the first line is repeated over the middle four bars. Then there is a final line that rhymes over the final four bars. The repetition of the line sort of pays homage to that tradition.

I really think the poem should crescendo on the first line of the final stanza. It doesn’t rhyme, so it really sticks out. It’s the five chord. It creates all the tension. That line needs to have all the emotion all the emphasis. The poem should have a strong repeating thesis, and pointed V chord line. I’ll need to work on that going forward.

I think this form requires some practice and some playing around with to truly nail. Perhaps a 12-Bar Blues variant is ideal. Also, the Trochaic Octameter could be improved upon. But for a first attempt, I don’t hate it.