Oddments

In search of story


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April 30.20: Coping

And so, dear reader, do we come to the end of Poetry Month, which I have endeavored to mark with a poem a day. I have greatly appreciated your company along the way, and I thank you with something for today’s celebration of Poem-In-Your-Pocket Day.  I have sent this to you before, but, since it’s one of my favorites, I send it again.

THE MIRACLE OF SPRING

We glibly talk

of nature’s laws

but do things have

a natural cause?

Black earth becoming

yellow crocus

is undiluted

hocus-pocus.

                                 — Piet Hein

 

I can’t say I’m any closer to a satisfying definition of poetry. It completely eludes me why some things are considered poems. Although I try to work with rhyme, it’s not because I think rhyme makes a poem; it’s something else that makes a poem. That part is mysterious to me.

But besides marking poetry month, I wrote daily as a way of coping. Poetry month might be over, but I still have to cope, so I might continue the mighty effort to post something every day. It’s good for me to try. I hope you are finding ways to cope, too. The anguish of this time is real and deep and we have to find ways to hold on to our humanness.


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On writing: April 26.18

Well, dear reader, here it is Poem-In-Your-Pocket Day, and I have nothing for my pocket and nothing for yours. This year has been the first in several when I haven’t cared a lot about Poetry Month. It’s been one of those writer’s slumps which maybe you understand.

I can’t even figure out what poetry is, and am nearing the conclusion that poetry is such a subjective thing that there must be a different definition for each of us.

I often meet something called a poem but to me it seems like prose. Why is it a poem?

I try to use rhyme in my poems — if such they are — because I like the discipline imposed by rhyme. (I admit I also like the entertainment — trying to rhyme can be hilarious.) But I know that rhyme doth not a poem make.

I have read that the root of “poem” is a word meaning “to make.” That suggests that a poem is something deliberately crafted. I have heard that poetry is acoustic, that the sound of the words is part of its essence. I have heard that poetry captures a moment. But have you ever read Mark Twain’s descriptions of the Mississippi River? If those aren’t crafted and acoustic and immediate, nothing is. Yet they aren’t considered poetry.

Someone told me that if you think you’re a poet then you’re a poet. Really? That’s all there is to it?

So it all seems a bit ambiguous to me. I’d rather it weren’t.

Maybe I’m trying to define the undefinable. Maybe you get that, dear reader, and so I hope you have a poem for your pocket even if it isn’t from me.