A world without poetry and poets would be like a world without music and musicians. For me, such a world would be intolerable. I also have no doubt that would be seen as such by most everybody else in this world of ours.
One of the highest aspirations of humanity is to create, to make something that never existed before, something that will withstand the test of time and poetry is a great way to achieve such an aspiration.

It is not really practical to attempt to separate the poet from the poem, but I would like to relay some thoughts on poetry and then move on to thoughts on the poet.

Poetry is form created by the soul. It is a juggling and laying out of objects in the natural world, words of the spirit and experience of life and of living. It is the use of symbols placed just so, in such delicate order to speak of the visions perceived by the individual to the whole. It is the deepest and most beautiful of forms in which we relate our worlds and experiences to one another. To set on high the uncommon and most common concerns of the heart. It’s aim is truth, truth as it is realized by the poet. And like the old saying goes, truth is beauty and beauty is truth. Poetry can uphold any human emotion, any human thought, any human experience to the cleansing light of the spirit. Poetry can enlighten, amuse, relate and define. It can satirize, analyse, sing and illicit a unity among us. It puts all human relation in the poet’s perspective.

And now some thoughts on the poet. Within the poet is an empty space. A space that demands to be filled and the poem is that filling. And once that space is filled, the poet exorcises and lays out that newly filled space for the world to see.
As Ralph W. Emerson has said so eloquently; “The poet is a sayer, a namer and represents beauty. He is a sovereign and stands on the center. For the world is not painted, or adorned but is from the beginning beautiful; and God has not made just some beautiful things, but beauty is the creator of the universe. Therefore the poet is not any permissive potentate, but is emperor in his own right. Criticism is infested with an air of materialism which assumes that manual skill and activity is the first merit of all persons.”
Poets are natural sayers that are sent into the world to the end of expression. The doers never quite understand the sayers and even less, approve of them.
Emerson relates what a certain poet described for him (Emerson doesn’t give the name of the poet);

“Genius is the activity that repairs the decay of things, whether wholly or partly of material and finite kind. Nature, through all her kingdoms insures herself. Nobody cares for the planting of the lowly fungus; so she shakes down from the gills of one mushroom countless spores, any of which transmits billions of spores tomorrow or the next day. The new mushroom of the hour has a chance which the old one did not. This bit of seed is thrown into a new place, not subject to the accident that destroyed the parent only a few yards away. Nature makes a person and having brought that person to a ripe age she will not run the risk of losing this wonder to the whims of a breeze, but detaches from that person a new self, the kind that may be safe from accidents to which the parents were exposed.
So when the soul of the poet has come to ripeness of thought Nature detaches it and sends away from the poet his/her poems or “songs.”

I will not place myself among the greats such as Homer or Aeschylus, or Frost or Dickinson, but I was asked recently by someone here if I ever had a feeling of a prior existence or some remembrance of the past that I could not account for. So I will offer a poem that I had written about a girl that I met:

A Gust of Remembrance

I was graced by he hello

Her innocent acceptance of me

Her thought evoking appreciation

Of my words so desperately penned.

She was a chilling gust of remembrance

A gentle soul of great demand

With the touch of angels in her hand.

A twist of fate to compliment acquaintance.

She possessed a beauty with an almost vengeance,

Knowing her for days too few

Centuries passed and ages flew

She was a chilling gust of remembrance. will write again on the nature of poetry and poets, including the thoughts of those that are more eloquent than I am. But I would like to invite all here to post some of your own poems, or your favorite poems by other poets.

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whatsthatsound
Member

This poem just started out as wordplay, but as I continued with it I felt like I was describing a believable, though unsavory, character. And admittedly, I see some of myself in him.

Descent

He gets his bona fides from Cuba Libres
as he watches treacly sunsets along esplanades
of sleepy Caribbean resort towns

by still budding local girls he is guiltily beguiled
rum forgotten name of his own daughter of similar vintage
(a name SHE chose, not him)

reveling in their cinnamon skin, he fantasizes
that they make the sign of the cross as soon as he leaves the room
and wishes for his own conversion

as overflowing here as apple asses and pear breasts
is incense, and loving judging figurines
he is incensed by his own vanilla upbringing
leaving him no one from whom to seek forgiveness
for a life of sin

except himself

Like many a traveler, he saves his epiphanies
for homebound flights, the landing of which
he’s always ambivalent toward
still wearing shorts anointed by the senorita’s oils
he gazes out at a grand city of clouds

alabaster ziggurats too perfect not to be
inhabited by exquisite beings;
shamans and priestesses who would drown on the surface

He longs to fling himself from the crude missile
that invades their perfect world as boorishly
as he invades his tanned child madonnas

he would throw himself before these Holy Ones
renouncing his world and offering himself
for absolution, or rejection

they would welcome him into their pure metropolis
or, repelled by his carnality, would scatter
leaving him to CRASH, splinter splatter
somewhere between Mexico and Nirvana

either scenario, he feels
would be preferable to Monday morning’s Bay Bridge
ritual

of futility

foodchain
Member
foodchain

KT let me add ee cummings “since feeling is first”. I won’t copy it because i’m sure everyone knows it, but in my early years, everyone was what degrees what career, what 5 year plan, 10 year plan, what would your epitaph be? I could only think—- since feeling is first..,.,,

foodchain
Member
foodchain

KT, what a treat! Your line: Within the poet is a blank space that needs filling…..that is a treasure of a thought. my son left the suburbs for CHina– southwest–because there was no ( not good on iPad keyboard)
“real” experience to be found— he thought. He has written and been ( modestly) published. I think he chooses to not fill his spot with what others think important, but prefers to leave the spot open until he finds the right experience. Boy, do I envy him. —great stuff!

funksands
Member

Funny you should mention China. For some reason I’ve started to get into Classical Chinese poetry. Du Fu is one of my favorites:

Facing Snow

Battle cry many new ghosts
Worry and grieve alone old man
Disorder cloud low dusk
Rapid snow dance return wind
Gourd ladle discard cup without green
Stove remain fire like red
Many place news broken
Worry sit straight book empty After the battle, many new ghosts cry,
The solitary old man worries and grieves.
Ragged clouds are low amid the dusk,
Snow dances quickly in the whirling wind.
The ladle’s cast aside, the cup not green,
The stove still looks as if a fiery red.
To many places, communications are broken,
I sit, but cannot read my books for grief.

(755) Du Fu

foodchain
Member
foodchain

Morning KT, Du Fu is a national treasure; funny how little we know of China. We had the opportunity to visit Du Fu’s Thatched Cottage in Chengdu. One of many treats. Hot Pot was a good one too!! 😉

texliberal
Guest
texliberal
ADONAI
Member

I refuse to write anymore poetry until I find something that rhymes with orange.

I know poems don’t have to rhyme but the rhythmic method is what I’m comfortable with.

foodchain
Member
foodchain

Adonai please forgive me but…..aren’t. Glad I didn’t say banana? ido have some better thought toco tribute; just short on time .

jkkFL
Guest

ADONAI- what rhymes with:

angst, -s /ˈ-æŋkst(s)/[10]
breadth, -s /ˈ-ɛdθ(s)/
bulb, -s, -ed /ˈ-ʌlb(z/d)/[11]
cusp, -s, -ed /ˈ-ʌsp(s/t)/
depth, -s /ˈ-ɛpθ(s)/
eighth, -s /ˈ-eɪtθ(s)/[12]
eth, -s /ˈ-ɛð(z)/[13]
fifth, -s, -ed /ˈ-ɪfθ(s/t)/
glimpsed /ˈ-ɪmpst/
gulf, -s, -ed /ˈ-ʌlf(s/t)/
heighth, -s /ˈ-aɪtθ(s)/[16]
karsts /ˈ-ɑrsts/[17]
kirsch /ˈ-ɪərʃ/
mulcts /ˈ-ʌlkts/[18]
ninth, -s /ˈ-aɪnθ(s)/
oblige, -ed /ˈ-aɪdʒ(d)/
sculpts, /ˈ-ʌlpts/
sixth, -s /ˈ-ɪksθ(s)/
twelfth, -s /ˈ-ɛlfθ(s)/
whilst /ˈ-aɪlst/
😉

Chernynkaya
Member

jkk–

spangst
shmeadth
shmulb
blusp
shmepth
shmeight

…. see, it’s easy! 🙂

jkkFL
Guest

ummmmm.. probably not your best effort, Cher! 😉

*edit- my smart-ass niece just suggested spanx /angst!

Buddy McCue
Member

I’ve always liked this one:

Roses are red;
Violets aren’t orange.

Some poems rhyme.
This one does not.

Chernynkaya
Member

Here ya go–now you can write a poem about ferns!

The only word in the 20-volume historical Oxford English Dictionary that rhymes with orange is sporange, a very rare alternative form of sporangium (a botanical term for a part of a fern or similar plant).

Or, you could win at Scrabble.

AdLib
Admin

There is no possible rhyme for orange,
Excuse me now as I oil this door hinge.

ADONAI
Member

I use to use door hinge but that’s a cop out. It’s two words. At best a compound word. It’s cheating.

Chernynkaya
Member

Now THAT is pure poetry! 😆

It made me laugh–or cringe!

jkkFL
Guest

worthy of a pudnut!

Khirad
Member

Fine, but I’d use the more poetic ‘bracken’.

texliberal
Guest
texliberal

Easy on me, the only science I dared take in college was meteorology and I got a C in that.

jkkFL
Guest

Ok tex- but can you tell us when it’s gonna rain?? 😉

jkkFL
Guest

@tex- uhh, ok, but how well does it do hurricanes??
I’m in FL, remember! 😉

texliberal
Guest
texliberal

Believe me, they should just dump Doppler radar and hire my knee

jkkFL
Guest

@tex! so are you saying a weatherman isn’t legit until they’ve had a knee replacement??? 😉

texliberal
Guest
texliberal

What’s that they say about college, you remember about four minutes of what you’ve learned after graduation? But I’ve had a knee replaced, it can predict rain quite well

texliberal
Guest
texliberal

DAMN, wish you hadn’t said that, now I’ll be trying to think of one all evening

Chernynkaya
Member

Here’s a weird one I found from that class I mentioned. The lesson was called ‘the dreaded association exercise’ and you can tell why. I like this, anyway:

“Sitting It Out”

I can’t take the heat. I hate to sweat.
Of course, there’s shampoo,
but it’s not the same as open moors.
It’s noisy and I feel terrible
about the ozone layer. I whine.

In Bangkok, it was so hot and humid I couldn’t see,
the muscles were dripping into my eyes,
burning them with stir fry.
The whole city was a tough aerobics class.

I used to imagine that in these hot maps,
the constitutions born there were used to it,
not as hot for them somehow. But it is.
They just move to the tempo
of the temperature, maybe in the way that
a griddle pours according to the weather.
Maybe the viscosity of our blood changes.

I got slow. My body felt so heavy – a savanna.
I could understand why Valkyries
thought that hot-place people were lazy:
They’d never tried to build showrooms
in 100-plus degrees.

It is amazing that human beings
only survive in a very narrow spigot.
A razors’ edge of a few universities
and we publish or perish.
We are really delicate.

And I am fragile among the stew.
I dislike discomfort, must be talc-ed
and air-conditioned.
I don’t want to strain, can’t take the heat,
can’t take the boil and bubble.
Can’t take the pain, can’t take the fear.
No sweat. No tears – they’re too thirsty and burning.

Last year the news reported
a severe Carmen Miranda in India.
The streets got so hot that the beggar children’s
feet were scorched. That’s damnation heat.
Why should they take the scald and not me?
I can’t bear to think of it.

So in Bangkok, I sat in the aquariums
of over-cooled lobbies whose windows were
dripping with Mint Julips like the inside
of a terrarium. I couldn’t see out. Cosseted
like an undeserving prom dress.
Those who could take the heat
loved out there.

whatsthatsound
Member

I love it! Today I just talked to a Thai lady and she said that she can’t stand DRY heat in the summer. As long as it’s sopping wet, she can deal with just about any temperature. Funny how one acclimatizes, or doesn’t. I’m from Columbus, and I never once got used to the dripping moist summers of the Midwest.

jkkFL
Guest

You certainly nailed heat in the tropics!!
Awesome~ as usual..
😉

*edit: You rock, Cher!!

whatsthatsound
Member

Great post, KT.
I love your poem.
I like your overall piece too, although I don’t agree with the sentence, “It is the deepest and most beautiful of forms in which we relate our worlds and experiences to one another.”
I don’t generally like it when people elevate one form of art over another – usually putting music at the top of the heap. Art, and artists, have to deal with enough in terms of feeling validated for doing what they do: creating, expressing. No need to make a hierarchy when peoples’ souls are longing to express.

Buddy McCue
Member

I agree with that.

Béla Bartók put it well when he said, “Competitions are for horses, not artists.”

Chernynkaya
Member

KT– Thank you for this interlude. And especially, thank you for sharing your lovely and poignant poem!

I love poetry, but it was only in the last ten years or so that I ever read any. It was right after my mom’s passing that my best friend would come to my house and bring books of her favorite poems and read some to me. That’s all she did for days, and it was so soothing.

Later, I took a great class in writing poetry for years (although of course OI will never be a good poet). It was wonderful and the other people in the class were amazing. Inspiring.

I recently got a new computer and in the process of transferring files, I found this old piece I wrote.

“For The Birds”

All day long
I hear the thumping of birds
flying into my office window.
They think it’s the sky.

I hear a thud behind me,
turn, then catch sight
of a bird falling away.
It’s upsetting.

The phones with electronic rings,
a fax machine beep,
and computer tunes are
interspersed with the thumps.

It’s a decent job –
a living if not a life,
only fifteen minutes from home
and they pay for parking.
I like to make my lunches.

I reach under my skirt
to smooth my blouse
in the ladies room mirror,
listen to the girls speaking
Spanish in their stalls.
I have chosen my clothes carefully.

At my desk I forward e-mail
jokes, sneak a game of solitaire
and listen to voice mail.
My lover has left a message.
My boss is calling my name.

There is a paper jam in the printer
and there are small, round marks
of oily dust on my window.
I want to post a sign:
“This is not the sky.”

whatsthatsound
Member

Lovely, Cher!

Chernynkaya
Member

Much appreciated, Whats.

jkkFL
Guest

Cher, just another extraordinary bit of writing from you!!

Chernynkaya
Member

Thank you, jkk. You gave me the nerve to put up another. 😳

kesmarn
Admin

Cher, this is really, really wonderful. A deft combination of the ordinary,the beautifully mundane, with the transcendent. It’s just incredibly poignant. I hope you get more of your stuff out here for us to read.

And you too, KT. Thanks so much for opening up this subject and for sharing your fine work with all of us.

Chernynkaya
Member

Aw, Kes. gee–thanks!

Buddy McCue
Member

KT – I don’t know much about poetry, but I do like your “Gust of Rememberance.”

My favorite poem is by Stephen Crane. It’s the only one I’ve ever memorized:

“In the desert I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands, and ate of it.

I said: “Is it good, friend?”
“It is bitter-bitter,” he answered, “But I like it
Because it is bitter, and because it is my heart.”

JackRusselTerrier
Member
JackRusselTerrier

Endless Wars
by JRT, 5/30/11 Memorial Day

Said the little girl at her grandfathe­r’s grave…
I never met you Grandpa. I have only heard stories.
You fought in a great war. You earned your glory.
Daddy told me, you were his hero.
You shot down Japanese zeros.

Said the girl at her father’s grave…
I will miss you Daddy. I can’t stop crying.
Why did you have to go and take up flying?
You died in the jungle. In a far away place.
Life won’t be the same without you. There is an empty space.

Said the wife at her husband’s grave…
You fought for your country and gave your life.
You’re gone now. It cuts like a knife.
I will raise our two sons and make you proud.
If they become half the man you were, they will stand out from the crowd.

Said the mother at her eldest son’s grave…
They put you on a plane and took you away.
You were my ray of sunshine. Now the sky is grey.
You were so much like your father. So brave and kind.
It was just like you, paying danger no mind.

Said the mother at her youngest son’s grave…
This flag won’t do, nor the excuse they gave.
The war will be over soon, so we were told.
You were my baby, fierce and bold.
But endless war took you from my fold.

whatsthatsound
Member

JRT, that really says it all. War does more than kill; it assaults the soul.
And it accuses mankind of being a very low species.

Buddy McCue
Member

JRT – Good poem. It’s terribly sad, but I guess that’s the point.

JackRusselTerrier
Member
JackRusselTerrier

Thank you Buddy. I was trying to show the progression of thoughts of a woman who has suffered from continual loss of military family members.

At first, she has a child’s understanding about what war is, glorious. Her fathers loss is more personal and confusing for her. It also shows how young men sometimes follow in their father’s footsteps. “Why did you have to take up flying?” His father was a pilot too. She married a military man, just like her father.

She raised her sons to grow up just like her husband. They suffered the same fate. Her eldest son died saving another soldier. Older sons can sometimes be protectors. “You were so much like your father. So brave and kind.
It was just like you, paying danger no mind.”

Her youngest admired his brother and joined the military.
By the end…this woman has a completely different understanding about war. It is NOT glorious.

I’m not sure if my scenario got across to everyone. I am explaining the poem because poetry is a interpretive experience. I usually don’t do this. I usually just ask people, “I could explain it, but what does it mean to YOU?”

This was a very emotional poem to write. I tried to put myself in this woman’s shoes. I stood beside these graves in my mind. I could smell the flowers and see the wind blowing through the trees. I held the two boy’s hands at the funeral. I wept and grieved. I still do.

foodchain
Member
foodchain

JRT, well, you got me too, snif. But it’s important to understand. It’s what makes us bigger, fuller.

jkkFL
Guest

fc- I was in the back of the room- you did not just ‘snif’..

foodchain
Member
foodchain

jkk, oh crap, snif is a dog social networking thing!! Laughing , laughing, laughing. Who though I’d need to spell check snif. Got the smile back jkk!

foodchain
Member
foodchain

Jkk, yeah. it wasn’t the big weep but……some of this is my unresolved current stuff– son moved to Asia, two great dogs, one helluva cat AND my Mom passing– and two brother In laws all passing in 2 yes time. I’m still hurdling this bunch! Probably a three beer story 😉

jkkFL
Guest

Awesome KT! I sure hope you keep posting yours- Perhaps a Poet’s Corner would be in order.
My sister is a writer, and a poet- this is her kids’ Mother’s Day gift to her:
What is Love:

(if it stalls- make sure HD is off.)