Oct 1, 2014

On Poetry . . .

Wow. When I sat down to write this post I thought I'd be dashing off a quick explanation of my take on poetry, adding a poem, and that would be that. But then I started getting into this whole convoluted thing about writing poetry and this nice little Wildcard post was threatening to spiral out of control. So let's see if I can pare it down to the essentials.

Long before I wrote fiction, I wrote poetry. I think there's very few people who took English in high school who didn't. ;-)

I never really thought of myself as a poet - writing poetry came far too easily to me for that. And I have the reams of it to prove it. But I enjoyed writing poetry, and I enjoyed reading it, mainly the dead poets - modern poetry was not my thing, mostly because I didn't understand it. Furthermore, I still don't.

I'll let you in on a little secret. Poetry, to me, is like art. I either like it, or I don't. I don't try to interpret it or dissect it or figure out what the creator meant by it, it either appeals to me or . . . it doesn't.

So, what has all this got to do with my little tale? I was thinking about a poem I wrote in high school that got many, many compliments (and still does today), and how astonished I was that everyone thought it was directed at a boy I'd broken up with over the summer. I even had a couple of his friends come up to me and tell me point blank that he didn't want to get back together with me.

Here's the thing: it was just a poem. It came to me out of the blue. I wasn't thinking of anyone when I wrote it. It was just words on the paper.

I know you're probably expecting me to post that poem here, but I'm not. That's not the point of this little rant. The point was to share the poem that popped into my head while I was thinking about that other poem and people's reactions to it, and how I've never felt like a real poet.

Confusing? Yeah, maybe. But I didn't want to just post the poem without an explanation. :-)


like tongues of flame
scorch their way up
and out through my pen.
But that's not right.
A real poet would say:
"Burnished topaz, flaming amber, rarest ruby. . .
these ideas of mine spill forth
like hot lava
spewing from the volcano of my soul.
I stand upon the precipice,
my kinship to Athena intact.
Such incandescent brilliance
must be carved in precious stone
and preserved for all eternity."
That's what a real poet would say
to make it personal
all about them.
While I
hoard these pieces of myself
like a miser with his gold.
So what
does that make me?

No comments: