I come from Delaware, which is far too north for people to use ‘y’all’ unless they’re trying too hard to sound cool. But I have an excuse, since my father comes from North Carolina.
And also I wanted to be ironic in the title.
So, let’s just gird our loins for a second. Poetry is one of those very delicate arts, which everyone seems to think s/he can do well. And because it is in a way the most accessible art and the cheapest to produce, since its material is none more than human experience, thought, and language, everyone can do it. Not that everyone should. Everyone should try, obviously, and I am in no way preventing anyone from attempting to express himself/herself. Just not everyone ought to do it this way.
Like your friend who’s going through a bad break-up with her boyfriend of two weeks, and has turned to poetry to deal with the stress. Probably shouldn’t be writing poetry.
And people like Hitler probably shouldn’t have been allowed to express themselves at all.
Let me go a bit further. Take Pushkin, one of my personal favourites and one of the first poets to whom I was exposed in a proper, not-in-high-school-so-we-have-to way. The sheer inventiveness of what he said astounds me. Or Erasmus Darwin, who I think is very much underappreciated. It is beyond me how these men think to write such simple ideas in such beautifully complex ways, and to simplify the greatest ideas into either pure emotion or pure scientific precision. I always wonder how the latter in particular could look at the heavens and think to write this:
Roll on, ye Stars! exult in youthful prime,
Mark with bright curves the printless steps of Time;
Near and more near your beamy cars approach,
And lessening orbs on lessening orbs encroach; —
Flowers of the sky! ye too to age must yield,
Frail as your silken sisters of the field.
Star after star from Heaven’s high arch shall rush,
Suns sink on suns, and systems, systems crush,
Headlong, extinct, to one dark centre fall,
And death and night and chaos mingle all:
— Till o’er the wreck, emerging from the storm,
Immortal Nature lifts her changeful form,
Mounts from her funeral pyre on wings of flame,
And soars and shines, another and the same!
I mean, who ever thought to put words like “printless steps of Time”, or “lessening orbs on lessening orbs encroach” together? How does one step so far away from the way men speak on a daily basis and yet make it so natural? I often get so caught up in the wording I forget to read, to be quite honest. Screw that guy.
And then there’s me. I once wrote a short epic poem to commemorate the death of Harambe, in Anglo-Saxon alliterative verse, one of my personal favourite metres. I’m only putting this here so that your expectations won’t be too high:
This summer saw the assault of a saviour
In Cincinnati. Nations can never know
What sort of shame is his who shot my friend,
America’s massive loss as those who mourn are mocked,
Or the tragic tidings’ toll on my feeble heart.
Yes, once a lad in Ohio wound up in a nasty spot
For spectators round the sphere called Earth to see
As men riddled a righteous and worthy gorilla,
Harambe. I had but read when at once I was roused
And felt a hole in my heart’s heavy depths,
A deep and cutting dearth no dick could fill,
Yet I don my dick in dolorous pain,
I face the fallen world with my phallus flung,
For hero has fallen. Far be it from me
To claim him as my own and clamour all the day
How he could have been saved, had his deed been seen
For the gracious heroism it was, gripping the growing
Toddler tightly. My silver Titan
Delicately dashed to a dear boy
But Bush determined he must boob up yet again
And had him despatched. Sparing no hatred,
The red button was pushed and pop went the bullets.
Just a gorilla? Read you tale
Of his life? His last great love was life
And love, long-lasting, was killed when he lay down dead.
I meme and I mourn, and mostly I remember
Him. My schlong presented it stares at space
And knows he never fails to notice my sadness.
Because Bush boobed up I bear my constant companion,
I prod my prick as Harambe was penetrated by pricks
Of gunpowder generously applied by greedy republicans.
Candlelight, cocks, and the rest couldn’t bring back
His sinewy silver and luscious back
And I think and wonder what would have been,
If Harambe were white, would he be here?
It was postscripted by #dicksoutforHarambe, just as a final dash of artistic panache.
I’m taking an awful risk here, then, by placing these arrangements of words in lines and metre on my widely unknown blog, and I await your brutal commentary. Because I wrote some that are actually serious, and my one friend says they are good. So let’s see how this goes. I’ll only put up one or two for the sake of your health and my self-esteem; I’m American, unfortunately, after all, so I was taught to treasure my self-esteem.
Also, I’m a huge fan of iambic pentameter, just to warn you.
This one I wrote a few days ago. On the way to Potsdam, in Brandenburg, I passed through a forest on the train. The bottoms of the trees were all brown, normal bark colour. The top halves of the trees were all a bright red. It was only 10 AM on a dreary day, but it seemed as if there were a bright sunset. As I stared out the window, this came to mind:
The sunset falls ere noon has come to pass,
The trees turn evening red; it’s morn, alas!
Their brilliant rouge is burning without flame
And at their base dark brown they all remain.
The sunset boughs the morning bring to life:
Between these times of day there is no strife,
For afternoon and morning both shall lose
And still at night in their deep red, they’ll brood.
The golden hour, nay, the golden day,
The golden night as well, for bright they stay,
The sunset trees that run the forest thick
And harbour evening’s glory in their bark.
Not amazing, I’ll admit. Constructive criticism is always welcome. But if it outright sucks, please say so nicely.
Remember I mentioned that cellist?
Sad eyes look down upon the written notes,
In being played by Her each measure gloats,
Her spindly fingers from Her cello coax,
And admiration for Her skill awoke.
Her slender nose descending down her front,
The thin, full lips more rouge than one could want;
Bewitching corps, that ravishing physique,
That otherworldly tenderness and mystique.
Yet it was not her looks at all which drew
My eyes to her ere the first notes were through,
But aura and a magnetism which
Prevented both my eyes from her to switch.
A hidden beauty, a cachéd intrigue,
Defining it my mind became fatigued,
So sat I there, and listened to the strings
Which resonated from melodious springs.
As Liszt poured forth, I felt my tears did flow,
As dext’rously She graced me with Her bow;
With Brahms, I hardly felt my spine collapse
At once — I say! — Her victim she entraps!
Her movements and her poses—Art itself!
She plays so plaintively and by herself,
So heavenly this image, from the start,
The music fell away — Oh God, my heart!
How is it in a moment one can fall
In love profound? I know her not at all!
She’s Art in motion, and she’s Art in form;
In every moment Kunst she lives, performs!
I have no words so that I could impress
This creature, nay, this woman, nay, déesse;
I’ve melted! Naught e’en Her could e’er restore
What ere was I — She smote me with amour!
I obviously didn’t give this to her. I didn’t want to be a creep. I don’t even know what her name was.
Again, I know they’re not Shakespeare. And I should probably revise them now that I’ve had time to advance as a literary being and fix some things here and there. But again constructive criticism would be great! And be brutal. I like metal, so brutal is good. Or post your own, that’d be awesome too!