On my way home from work today I heard a poem read by its author on the radio, and it made me pause and consider how little time I spend contemplating poetry. Here's the thing: I never have a random, burning desire to read a poem. When I do happen upon one, I generally find the experience interesting. But isn't it the case that so many poems just seem meant to be read aloud? Hearing a poem read by its author is just so much more rewarding for me. So when that happens (and again, usually by accident rather than design), I usually wonder WHY I don't ever set about to read or listen to poetry.
Or...dare I say...
Today's New Activity: Late Night Poetry Writing
So it's not like I've never written a poem (though admittedly almost every time I wrote one in the past it was because I was assigned to do so for school). But what I really enjoyed about listening to the poem I heard today was the alliteration and the internal rhyme (my friend Sharon cracked me up the other day by responding to a comment I made about Eminem on Facebook with an appreciation for his talent with internal rhyme...she's *such* an English major/librarian!). I've never written a poem that attempted to work with either or both of these devices. Which is to say--in the minds of all the poets out there I'm sure--that I've never, indeed, written a poem. I decided to take that challenge on today.
That shit is hard!!
In the beginning, I was trying to write a blank verse poem, which meant writing in iambic pentameter. Yeah. I gave that up pretty quickly. (apologies for all the literary terms to any readers who didn't waste their time and money majoring in English...that's why the links are provided).
I think maybe people who don't think about poetry much think creating it is an easy thing to do. But for a wordy-ass person like me, it's incredibly difficult. The true miracle of a really good poem is that it is able to express so much with such efficiency. Every word is carefully selected, chosen above all the other hundreds of thousands of words out there (or, more realistically, the 12-15 other words that might have expressed the same thing but in a less artful, rhythmic, accurate, or beautiful way). The effect can be like a rich and gooey dessert for the ears, or whatever the melodic and soulful version of that idea would be.
I won't embarrass myself here by publishing what I wrote. And I will admit that I only got two stanzas into a poem about my son eating raisins out of the tiny snack boxes he loves before the mental exhaustion of the exercise had me throwing in the towel.
Three cheers for all the amazing poets out there. Oh how I wish you were better compensated, monetarily, for your efforts at keeping the magic of your respective languages alive...