Understanding Poetry

Let’s face it. While poems are to express a feeling or an idea in a certain style, we don’t always understand them. I love poetry. I try to write it. I admit that it can be more complicated than we prefer, and perhaps more than this Old Texas Aggie’s gray matter can process.

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Sometimes, as with music, it just sounds so damn good, even though I have no clue about the subject or purpose of the piece. Poetry sounds especially wonderful when read by the right, good voice. It works for me, even with my uncertainties about understanding the art.

I like the synonyms for poetry, chiefly versification, metrical composition, balladry, and the archaic (and perhaps politically incorrect) poesy. Occasionally, I run across a fine piece of balladry that I not only enjoy and understand, but I also relate to with some internal passion — Hell Yes!

I love irony in life, in writing, in humor, and in verse. It strokes my silly ego to find others who give a pass to the literal minds of the world, and share my ironic reality. Last week I was handed a poem that was published in Stanford Magazine (Jan/Feb 2017), written by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin, titled: Alma Mater.

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For me, this poem glorifies the wonderful simplicity of ordinary lives, and it resonates in me the value of things like freedom and love and family and friends. All of which wear the tag: priceless!

ALMA MATER

My apologies for using a link, but the publisher is unable to grant permission for me to republish at this time. Please click here to read the short poem from the Stanford Magazine page.

Because this is from the magazine of a prestigious American University (Stanford, I did not go there, but she did), I think Mary is referring to her alma mater. But, she could also mean any parent, friend, or muse who we believe had greater material expectations of us. It reminds me of that meme, “How do you measure success?”

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Here are four lines of my own poetic dribble. I have been massaging this clunker for a while, there is more, but it’s nowhere near finished. I wonder if it conveys the right emotion.

Always, you’ve been here with me,
As children, we survived my foolish resistance.
While we ponder our thoughts, I sense yours in me,
As we bind together, into one two-sided life.

 

poetry-1If you wanna write some, there are on-line poetry challenges, such as NaPoWriMo during April (sign ups begin 1 March 2017). You will be challenged to write a poem each day. I do the A-to-Z blog challenge during that month, so not sure that I could keep up. Maybe.

…. Great love. (In tribute to Pat Conroy)

Poetry or prose, mind the gaps and look both ways.

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4 thoughts on “Understanding Poetry

  1. Nothing wrong with that poem, Bill. It covers everything, and thoroughly. Sometimes the real poem (which this is) is buried under too many words and gets lost.

    And Mary McLaughlin’s moved me to tears. Somehow we rarely live up to what our parents wanted, or hoped for, but they miss the fact (as my mother did) that where you are is more important than where they think you should be, if it’s your choice.

    Not sure if Im constructed for the poetry challenge, but it’s fun to consider, at any rate.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wonder how many of us relate to Mary’s poem. Quite good.
    Yours is too.
    I write poems in secret and tuck them away. Paper is much stronger than I.
    I love to listen to poetry being read, and am often moved to tears.

    Liked by 2 people

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