A true poet does not bother to be poetical. Nor does a nursery gardener scent his roses.
Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.
Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.
Poetry is plucking at the heartstrings, and making music with them.
A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.
Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.
I will start with two poems, one is rhymed, one not. The first by the American poet Rita Dove who writes about a lady I admire so much and feel sure I would have done the same as she if I had been travelling on that bus..
Lady Freedom Among Us
don't lower your eyes
or stare straight ahead to where
you think you ought to be going
don't mutter oh no
not another one
get a job fly a kite
go bury a bone
with her oldfashioned sandals
with her leaden skirts
with her stained cheeks and whiskers and
heaped up trinkets
she has risen among us in blunt reproach
she has fitted her hair under a hand-me-down cap
and spruced it up with feathers and stars
slung over her shoulder she bears
the rainbowed layers of charity and murmurs
all of you even the least of you
don't cross to the other side of the square
don't think another item to fit on a
consider her drenched gaze her shining brow
she who has brought mercy back into the streets
and will not retire politely to the potter's field
having assumed the thick skin of this town
its gritted exhaust its sunscorch and blear
she rests in her weathered plumage
don't think you can ever forget her
don't even try
she's not going to budge
no choice but to grant her space
crown her with sky
for she is one of the many
and she is each of us
© Rita Dove. From On the Bus With Rosa Parks
The second is by one of my favourite poets.
WHEN YOU ARE OLD
WHEN you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
Yet another day begins with rain. It’s feeling cool again, the river level is quite high for this time of year and it is in fast flow. I’m getting a wee bit desperate now and feel the need to remove myself to warmer climes. The rise in fuel prices won’t bother me as I have my own method of transport.
You can see a picture of where I keep it, hanging on the wall by my back door.
It was writing group last night and there was a lively discussion about poetry and the comparison between poems that are rhymed and those written in free verse. Some folk felt very strongly that poems should rhyme. I think there is room for both and as long as it is good writing and it ‘moves’ me, that is all that matters.
Just out of interest I looked up the definition of the word poem in my Bible, my 1963 Concise Oxford Dictionary
A metrical composition, esp. of elevated character; elevated composition in prose or verse,
A poet is a writer of poems and a writer in verse especially one possessing high powers of imagination, expression etc
I think that as long as the writing is poetical, musical/rhythmical/ metric, metaphorical, reads and sounds ‘right’ and its content ’moves’ you as all good art must, then it is a poem. But the quotes at the top of this blog say it far better than I do.
What do you think?
Have I given up on the blessings, you may ask? Never!
Here are six for today.
A day off and nothing to do!
My dear newfound sister and her lovely family who have just spent the weekend with us.
Time spent with E my youngest granddaughter.
Deep and dreamless sleep when one’s energies are almost depleted.
A favourite TV series that is returning this evening - Who Do You Think You Are?
A pile of lovely books to read - so many that I don’t know where to start.
The sun is peeping at me, such is her habit now, that of shyly peeping out of the clouds instead of shining full on. For she has turned into a bit of a sly temptress who promises me gold, lures me outside and before I know it, it seems that the sun and the rain are in league because the heavens have opened and showered me with heavy torrents.
I am going to brave the elements though as we are just off for a little jaunt in the car, some exploring of new ground to do.
Can’t wait. Back Soon.
Bye for now,
Go mbeannai Dia duit,
PS My favourite poetry quote is by Robert Graves..
There's no money in poetry, but then there's no poetry in money, either.
Oh and here is a puzzle for you. Does anyone know what this is? Keep looking at it; watch what happens. It was very camera shy.