When I started writing my blog back around 2012, I was focused mostly on poetry. I had been a contributor to another website that was purely into poetry and had contests, which whetted my appetite for the genre. We weren’t talking the “Roses are red, Violets are blue” thing here. They were very fussy. Most if not all contests stipulated the form of the poem, i.e. haiku, rondeau, free verse, limerick, ode, and parody, etc. and, in many cases the number of lines it could contain, which lines must rhyme, and, the number of syllables each line could contain. Looking back, I remember thinking WHAT?? Are you kidding me? I never knew that poetry could be so difficult, and demanding. But, I soldiered on, and, even won a few of the contests. I suspect it will not be part of my legacy.
Over time, I think I have written less poems and more commentary and opinion pieces, although, I am still open to some free verse from time to time. Probably because I am too lazy to challenge one of the more restrictive styles. Or maybe because I will never be a poet in the true sense of the word. I will never be read like Poe or Browning or Longfellow. I am more like Lewis Lingman, or Ted Stedman. Never heard of them? Neither have I. I made them up, but I am afraid they will go down in history with the same accolades as will I. But that’s OK. I don’t write to be famous. I write to be considered relevant, and, of course, at my age, to keep my fingers from stiffening up.
But I digress. The reason I bring any of this up at all is because I saw a blog today that appears to be purely about the dissection and analysis of poetry. Kind of like a book club that only reads and discusses books by Nitschke. Membership I’m assuming is rather exclusive. However, I was taken by one of the posts that asked the question “What is poetry”. And, my answer is, “I haven’t got a clue beyond liking to write it…sometimes. I have never tried to define it. Maybe because that would be more difficult then writing it. Or, maybe, as the article went on to divulge, it appears that most poets prefer to define it themselves. The post listed multiple “definitions” of poetry, as defined by the poets. Let me just say that after reading some of their definations, I am no closer to uncovering the answer then I am of reaching Nirvana. Here are a few examples from the guys that should know.
Poetry is a way of taking life by the throat. Robert Frost
Poetry at it’s best is the language your soul would speak if you could teach your soul to speak. Jim Harrison
Poetry is above all a concentration of the power of language, which is the power of our ultimate relationship to everything in the universe. Adrienne Rich.
Are you feeling it yet. Me neither. But here are a couple that I can at least relate to.
Poetry is the opening and closing of a door, leaving those who look through to guess about what is seen during the moment. Carl Sandburg
Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words. Edgar Allen Poe
So, I guess it is up to me, and you, to decide “what is the meaning of life”. Oops, I meant poetry. Any ideas. Here is my opinion. “Poetry is when the music in your heart and the lyrics in your head seek an orchestra”. I didn’t say it was good. I just said it was mine. I wrote it, so I’ll decide what I mean. That’s the name of that tune.