All week I have been thinking about poetry, reveling in blogs celebrating this form of the written word. I have also been thinking about what I said last week about poetry being the highest form of writing, about poets being the gods and goddesses of writing.
I have to say that this kind of thinking paralyzes a writer. I know where these thoughts originated. High School. Studying Yeats, Longfellow, Wordsworth, Emerson. Analyzing rhymes. Over-analyzing metaphors and similes. It was all so ponderous and heavy. And none of these old bearded white men looked like they were having a bit of fun at it.
You might think I would hate poetry after high school. Oddly, I didn’t. Even though the teaching of it was exceptionally un-fun, I could see the passion of it. I could see the distillation of beauty and idea.
Thankfully, college put me in the audience of Gregory Corso and my mind was blown. Here was irreverence, humor, sex and love. Here was poetry revitalized.
Though poetry became more relevant, I kept my distance. Why? Because somewhere in all that book learning and analyzing, there was a boyfriend who loved poetry, who quoted poetry, who whispered ,”If you can’t write great poetry, you shouldn’t write poetry at all.” and murdered my fledgling impulse. (Actually, looking back, I think the boyfriend might not have murdered my secret wish to write poetry so much as fed my inner critic gargantuan helpings of derision.)
Which brings me to today, standing on the edge of the pool where all these poets I know are splashing around, tossing words in the air, seeing how they catch light and if they land with a kerplop or a ripple.
Mourning doves echo
Bamboo swishes and clatters
Out scampers the cat