In the wee hours of the morning I find myself thinking about poetry. Why, I have no idea, for it is not my thing. To me, it seems an easy, simple genre nowadays, unlike Homer’s “The Illiad” or Shakespeare’s work. Anyone, it seems, can be a poet. Words, syllables, and short phrases stacked atop each other without even rhyming just do not do much for me.
Nursery rhymes continue to be stuck in my mind and have come in handy for amusing babies and toddlers. In high school I enjoyed reading the poems of Robert Frost and Walt Whitman, but it is also where I began questioning poetic interpretations. I just could not understand how teachers or scholars could presume to know what a poet, who was long dead, was trying to say. How could they know? The poets did not give an explanation of their work. Couldn’t they mean more than one thing? Isn’t poetry open to interpretation? Apparently not, for what I interpreted a poem to mean or be expressing was not what the teacher said it meant. I could not get it, became frustrated, and decided poetry was not for me. I guess, it just really bugged me that I was being TOLD what a dead person was writing about instead of having it explained to me. Of course, this made me realize that educators are simply relaying what they have been taught. However, when I got to college, I was introduced to Dante’s “Inferno” and, although I disliked the tormented content, I thoroughly understood it. We also studied some of the fallacies of the Bible. Very interesting.
Unlike me, my husband loves poetry and pours over verse after verse to discern the depth of its meaning. (shrug) Like it can’t mean just what it says? He tries to enlist my help, but I just do not get what all the fuss is about. I try to see what he believes is there, but my brain goes numb with the effort.
Despite my meager protestations, I must admit that once in a great while I find myself penning a poem, a succinct, unembellished flow of words that seem to know exactly where they want to go. I do have a small folder of them, but they are not cheerful pieces. Sometimes poetry is the perfect medium for how one feels about the world…But, the bottom line is: You like/love/dislike what you like/love/dislike and very seldom can you be dissuaded otherwise.