The right poem, read at the right time alone to yourself. That will stick to your insides like no other medium of art. Poetry is the most holiest of art forms and I treasure it so much I rarely write or talk about it. I am happy to discuss and debate prose all day. Let me tussle with you on the merits of what good prose is. I will not get into debate on poetry though.
A poem can stay in your head and your heart more than any other art form. A poem read alone and slowly. If you let each simile, metaphor and sentence lay on your lips. The words seep into your soul. They find a nice cosy place to sit and hide, somewhere in the pit of your stomach.
Poetry as a medium is about as perfect an art form as there can be. It can paint pictures like prose or even rival a portrait on occasion. It’s brevity and often its rhyming scheme are like distilling alcohol. All excess water removed, no wasted words. Just pure pleasure, pain and emotion remains.
I was ejected from class only once in my life of education. It was during poetry analysis at college. I simply could not cope with the pulling apart and criticism of a poem I considered sacred. It made me so mad I was asked to leave the class. I could not bare to see that beautiful dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon taken apart for the vague amusement of those that did not care about it like I did. I could not bare how they continued to ignore the achieve of, mastery of it.
This is why I rarely ever share poetry. It is too precious, too perfect to be shared with those who do not appreciate it. If I like you and I share a poem and you don’t like it. Ugh, we will still be friends but I will not look at you the same again and rightly so.
Author’s Note: Confession
If you stuck around long enough to read this note. Well then you deserve a human moment from me. I used to frequent a particular pub on lunchtimes. It was part of a chain and they decorated it with books. I can only assume they buy the books by the metre. They do not care about the subject matter, all they care about are the colour and the size.
I used to sit in the same spot often and one afternoon I noticed a collection of poems sitting just behind my elbow on a shelf. The book was dated early 1910 and it had the most perfect collection of verse I had ever read. All my favourites and some new favourites I discovered reading in that pub alone.
I hated leaving that book that first day. I returned the next day just as the pub opened and made my way to the table with the shelf, there was the book where I left it. I would go into the pub often that summer and read the book on my own. I ended up reading it cover to cover.
I loathed leaving the book each day. The thought that this book was just a piece of furniture. I hated the thought others ignored the book while they laughed and chatted with friends. I hated more the idea that ‘other people’ might pick it up and read a poem not appreciate it at all.
Sometimes the book was moved. When I went to sit down, and for seconds or even minutes my heart was broken, thinking that it was not there any more. I saw someone rest a beer glass on another similar old book on an adjacent table and that was it. I could not take it anymore. Action was required, no more skipped heart beats as I entered the pub that summer. I needed to act.
So I stole it.
I took the book home with me that afternoon. I left an ‘unrelated’ large tip on my table, I sneaked the book away under my jumper. I am certain no one ever noticed or missed that beautiful old book of poetry. I still feel guilty today but I would do it again without hesitation. It sits on my bookshelf to this day. Liberated from a lifetime of neglect.