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You Cannot Force a Willing Mind · Poetry Minific ·
Organised by Anon Y Mous
Word limit 15–1000
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You cannot force a willing mind
to yield, and end its restless quest
to lose the chains and ties that bind.

The ancients said that love is blind,
but see your lover clearly, lest
you cannot force a willing mind.

Two minds and bodies, souls entwined,
can help each other pass the test
to lose the chains and ties that bind.

Someones, though, seek another kind
of freedom, at their own behest.
You cannot force a willing mind.

And so they leave their will behind,
consenting, and they think - at best -
too loose the chains and ties that bind.

If, when you search your heart, you find
devotion, you are truly blessed.
You cannot force a willing mind
to lose the chains and ties that bind.
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#1 ·
· · >>Troposphere
This is the only poem here that fills me with glee
Trying to take apart this prompt's contradiction sucks
Amiss all these attempts this very work to me succeeds

It's a poem that flows out the mouth well, easily, and has nice little narration that stick with a focus enough theme of:
Can't make someone lose the chains and ties that them together. It's a sentiment I can argue against when it comes to real life, because we can't have nice things in this world. The counter here is if that a person's will is high enough fight the sabotage, it'll stand against such attacks. Guessing "will" being time and effort put into a relationship for good or ill.

See constant clear communication.
#2 ·
· · >>Troposphere
Ah, a villanelle! I love this form. Well executed, except that the stress pattern is way off for the first lines of the 4th and 6th stanzas. That said, villanelles don't require a meter, only a rhyme/repetition scheme, though since every single other line in the poem is perfect iambic tetrameter, you set up the expectation that those should be as well.

As to subject matter, I'm a little foggier. it seems to be saying that it's easier to go through life if you have a partner, but it can be rare to find one who will be devoted to you? Not quite sure. To me, at least, it's stronger for its construction than its message.
#3 · 1
· · >>GroaningGreyAgony

I was alerted to this prompt by a friend in a kink forum, and with that context I immediately understood it as being about the BDSM paradox of wanting to be forced. So the grand plan was to use the villanelle form to inject a negation between the refrains in the first stanza. This gives a progression that starts at normalcy: A mind will try to escape whichever bonds that limits it. At the end we've arrived at the kinky condition: A mind that's willing to be bound cannot be made to give up its chains.

Perhaps it was expressed a bit subtler than ideal, but I had to keep it SFW. :-)

Thanks for the comments!

The slight rhythmic hiccup in the middle line is sort of deliberate. I did consider a few smoother alternatives to it, but I felt they would make the whole thing too monotone with baDUM baDUM, baDUM baDUM throughout. The location also underscores that this is the point where the poem changes gears and veers from fauxlosophical musings about love and minds, into BDSM propaganda.

In the final stanza, though, I must plead guilty. I read to myself, "if WHEN you SEARCH your HEART you FIND," and thought it scanned cromulently. In retrospect, that was just tunnel vision after thinking in iambic tetrameter for hours ...
#4 ·
There's still some juice left in the rind
And so one may attempt to wrest
Just one more stanza than designed.

Although the paper seems unlined,
We hold the means of fond protest,
To savor how we are confined.
#5 ·

I much enjoyed seeing where people took the prompt for this round. For the record, here's where I got it:

“And there is little to be done with a thoroughly unwilling crew.”
“No,” said Jack. “There is no forcing a willing mind.” He was reminded of his conversation with Stephen Maturin, and he added, “It is a contradiction in terms.” He might have gone on to say that a crew thoroughly upset in its ways, cut short in the article of sleep, and deprived of its trollops, was not the best of weapons either; but he knew that any remark passed on the deck of a vessel seventy-eight feet three inches long was in the nature of a public statement.
― Patrick O'Brian, Master and Commander
#6 ·
After thinking more of it, I'm now not quite convinced "if, when you search you mind ..." was actually a metric flub. Sure it sounds atrocious if read with "schoolboy scansion", but English verse is not really supposed to be as rigid as that. For example, Wikipedia says:

However, marking stress is not the same as marking meter. A perfectly regular line of iambic pentameter may have anywhere from 2 to 9 stresses, but it is still felt to exhibit 5 pulses or beats. This can most easily be understood through the principle of relative stress: an unstressed syllable between 2 even slightly weaker syllables may be perceived as a beat; and the reverse is true of a stressed syllable between 2 even slightly stronger syllables. These phenomena are called "promotion" and "demotion".

"Unstressed syllable between 2 slightly weaker syllables" sounds like a fair description of how the "when" behaves in a natural prose reading of the sentence.

So I think I'll stand by my initial gut feeling that even though this isn't quite a thumping ba-DUM at the beginning, it still sounds like a rhythm that would have been good enough for Shakespeare.