Repetition isn’t just a term in poetry—it is something we cling to for a modicum of balance. In writing, it is the idea of repeating for emphasis and for memory. In songwriting, repetition makes pop songs unforgettable in the most unforgiving sense (for examples, please see boy bands of the 90s, early 00s…Bye, bye, bye).
Repetition is a manipulation. We repeat, repeat, repeat. We wake up, maybe we go to work, or school, or both. We eat breakfast, lunch, dinner. On the weekends, we play for a soccer team, or we wake up each Saturday morn to the promise of cartoons and Cheerios. We’ve trained ourselves how to live through constant repetition; we’ve manipulated ourselves into a comfort zone, which is why surprises tend to, well, surprise us. It’s why people exposed to violence often tend to internally lessen its threat, why people who cheat often can keep doing so with abandon.
Repetition, in all its forms, seeks to praise and humble. Only recently, have I realized how humbling it can be.
The poem below is from my friend Anahit T. who experimented with repetition:
a poem based on a disappointing conversation
Hmm…I wonder who that could be?
There it goes again, I should check it and see.
Yeah, it’s him….Hello!
Are you back yet?
Almost. How are you?
I’m great, how was your trip?
My trip was great! Would you like to see me this weekend?
Oh..I can’t this weekend, what time will you be home? Don’t you want to come play for a bit tonight?
I can’t, I’m not feeling so well..Maybe next week?
Ah, what a shame some friends are going to come over right now anyway. Maybe if you feel better later you could come.
I wish I could, it is something that I cannot control. Maybe another day?
I guess there won’t be another day.
For more writing by Anahit, visit her at Writing.com.
An on-the-spot poem about repetition,
written by Alexa L.
You took a knife
and sliced my heart in two—
living two lives
in two parts of the same city.