Picketing at such a young age - oh my!
The man was no poet. Yet in his short over half a century life he had been married twice, well over a decade for both and happy healthy children. And both those marriages began in a courtship that included poetry he wrote for them. His loving ladies adored and cherished the poems. But they were lousy poems as poetry goes. No talent for the genre. “pee yew” would be an honest critique of his erstwhile attempts at the art form. And yet his poetry had wooed the hearts of wonderful discerning women.
So the poet is just a man. Not an artist. Oh, most assuredly he traveled through earthly space with his head firmly anchored in the clouds. And he had a rare talent and love for words as they flowed from his pen – just not for poetry. He could write a technical manual, a legal brief, a short story, a novel and all manner of new age social media induced stupid stuff, he could even write a sermon or a great advertising pamphlet for a house no one should ever buy. But he just could not write poetry right.
What in the world could have been so special about the poems he wrote to the women he loved? Perhaps we can gain an insight into poetry by examining such a puzzle. Better yet maybe we can find some insight into the personage of a poet.
If I were a poet......
I just love my ladies.
Learn to write wonderful poetry like a master?
Let us assume that a poet like any artisan must study their craft. There must be rules to learn and protocols that must be followed. One can even imagine that there must be certain ways in which the poet must hold their pen or pencil. We must consider what kind of paper should be used. What of such important stuff like chairs that should be sat in and how to sit. Lighting must be crucial and there must be an exercise and diet regimen that is best to follow. We of the laity can only imagine all of the do’s and don’ts’s. And then there are the poets who put their works to music. And still others who write greeting cards or encouragement versus. We can be sure that all the technical stuff takes a lifetime to master. But then when they have mastered the craft – immediately they can begin to write wonderful beautiful poetry that sends hearts soaring and minds doing summersaults at the shear import and gravity of the work. They can lift the reader to new heights or drop them down into abysmal chasms of despair. And the work will always be beautiful, awesome and interesting.
Even though I know nothing about poetry I doubt very much that the above is accurate. For some reason I do not believe that a boot camp of poetry can produce a poet of worth. It does not seem quite right that there may be a formula or recipe to produce a poet. Certainly a base line of being literate is required along with some concept of the fundamentals of structure but that is like breathing air to a writer. There must be something else that makes the poet.
Did a poet write this?
The game is afoot!
Poets are brave heroes.
Getting back to our man who could not write poetry but did there seems to be something present that empowered him and motivated him. First let us dispel this idea about the audience. Yes the women loved him and clearly would have a bias. But of course. The whole world loves an artist and has bias. If the audience is one or one million does not really change the art. Broad appeal verses narrow appeal. The undiscovered artist until his death and then he becomes famous. All a matter of focus and intrigue of the audience and not about the work itself. Certainly children’s poetry may not be appealing to a Poe fan and on and on. So the audience is not where we find the answer to our query.
What of the subject matter? Well probably not, probably the poet wrote about love and love is surely the most popular subject among poets.
So it would seem that we are left with a sort of conclusion. One that is also sort of a mystery. Perhaps a poet is one imbued with a need to write poetry. They say that necessity is the mother of all invention. Maybe our poet had a need to convey his love and that alone lifted him to the heights of ability to write poetry. For some magical reason the muse of poetry enters the would be poet and the poet must get it out. Almost like a parasite that will eat him alive if he does not find an outlet for it. Or like a demon possession that seeks to leave the host and spread to another. True torment and suffering until sweet release in poetry. With that thought in mind we can hear ourselves saying upon reading the next poem, “well do you feel better now that you got that out?”. And we can now look at the poetry as some independent living being apart from the conduit poet. They are simply vessels through which the poetry passes on it’s journey to be known. A very amazing concept indeed.
Or perhaps the poet is the genesis of the poetry. In fact it is like a child of the poet. A part of the poet. And like a mother giving birth it comes out fully human yet not yet developed. While the gestation period of creation and life giving is essential the nurturing and care taking is what forms the mature poetry. Some poetry raw and juvenile too young to be exposed to the world, some aged just right like fine wine, and still others too old and beaten down to breathe real life. Clearly here there would be care given in the inception and in the finishing of the work. Somehow a seed is germinated in our poet that he later gives life to. And just like living creatures there will always be a miracle of life that is beyond our ability to grasp, even though the biomechanics are easy to understand.
A bit about a Poet and the author. It gives me no pleasure at all to say that some poetry gives me no pleasure at all. Too cutesy is just too cutesy and hopelessness in any form just does not sit well. Really long poems are boring and it is real tough to write a really short one that grabs attention and lends itself to immersion. There is a stranger phenomenon for this author. While we are not talking about superficial flimsy poetry at all, we just dismiss that group out of hand, good poetry says “here is my heart”. Some poets I like some days and don’t like other days. It kind of requires a meeting of the heart in some form of poetic empathy. But some poets I have gotten to know through their work. It is almost embarrassing to say but through the nature of the personal revelations in their art I know them better than my own spouse. Now that is heavy. I must be careful that they do not become the dealer in my addiction to their humanness.
So what there is about the poet is that they have found a way to lay their heart open for inspection. I would imagine that a heart surgeon feels a certain closeness to a patient whose heart she has held in the palm of her hand – just a thought there. There is something about the intimacy that a real poet can share. It is almost too intense. Not quite like intercourse and not quite like being in a close battlefield foxhole together but damn close to both. There is a shared exhilaration and danger in walking through extreme emotions together with someone. The poet is like the guide who leads us through life threatening adventure, again and again and again. The familiarity is a cement that binds thoroughly.
I love the poet. May all of them be blessed for helping us on the journey to learning how to feel.