Outside its been a dismal grey lately. Although it’s not cold enough to complain, February days are still not warm enough to enjoy a stroll through the park or along the waterway. A poet’s best hope is a dewy bench under the blooming cherry trees to find a sense of ease.
As I venture through my local bookstores, I’m a little disheartened. The poetry sections are dwindling. It appears poetry has become an afterthought. Yes, there are the greats like Leonard Cohen and Earnest Hemingway fully stocked in both hard and soft cover, but what of the emerging poets? How small the selection is! Not to mention the lack of funding and grants that go into local poetry publications.
Now I know that poets have had the reputation of fixing their eyes on the stars and delving into some eternal time lapse or writing line after line about epic love affairs of past centuries, but prose writing has accounted for most of history’s social movements. Poetry, on the other hand, beautifully illustrates our story.
In educational settings, the term creative expression is often favored through expository or juxtaposition style writings where the preference is for analysis of any literary text. Yet I’ve found that poetry teaches us a more diversified form of writing – and thinking. It uses parallel structure, grammar formations, establishes strong pronunciation of words and identifies the eight parts of speech.
The human condition is realized when poetry becomes a safe outlet for emotional expression and social communication.
Poetry became my gateway to other forms and styles of writing as it taught me skills that were useful later when I critiqued and edited other works. Most importantly though, poetry taught me how to break the rules and expand my horizon – hence, a storyteller was born. Some of the rebels who influence me the most are Mark Twain, Lewis Carroll and Zelda Fitzgerald but the one who still gives me goose bumps is Virginia Woolf.
There is a similarity between visual art and poetry in that both the artist and poet are bringing us various images using expressive and imaginative language through scenes or verses. I love these perspectives because it allows us to focus in a different way when viewing or reading a piece of work. We can write in the abstract or the concrete. The lens of perception is mutable.
I believe that poetry is an exemplary form of writing. Anyone can write poetry if they really want to. And talking of poetry, here is my poem for February:
Beneath every cherry tree is an umbrella
Ready to keep a poet and pen
Dry from the dismal grey drizzle On a lazy Sunday in February When all a poet wants is
The grey and dreary to drift off to sea
To chase away the clutches of winter
And settle in with the birds in the trees
To pen a song between the leaves
And watch the verses spread like blooming buds At last words trickle out like a gentle breeze Cherry blossoms drenched after February rain
The ground is about to wake
Now go out and catch your early spring poems!