"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Monday, February 28, 2011

Reading Heart and Soul

I’ll be joining some friends Saturday for a long awaited writer’s retreat. In preparation, I’ve been going through some of my writing, trying to decide what I want to bring, work on or have critiqued. I’ve flipped through recently written short stories and nonfiction, thumbed through completed novels collecting dust and came across the first poem I had published in an anthology while I was in high school.

“Secret Admirer”

He does not know my name,
But he knows that I am there.
In his mind’s eye he sees,
A most passionate flare.
As a token of my love,
A single rose have I sent.
I think of him always,
My love can never be spent.
The depth of my feelings,
He will never understand.
Or know that I’ve dreamed,
Of our lives together planned.
He speaks to me sometimes,
And I treasure every word.
His deep voice to others unnerving,
Is the divinest music I’ve heard.
Soon he will be leaving me,
And never again will his love I feel.
His absence I know,
Will pierce my heart like steel.

I’ve written many poems since then, and yes, most of them rhyme. I’m a huge fan of Shakespeare and Tennyson. I enjoy using language to create a rhythm – the original music. I also enjoy A Capella. (If you think that’s not real music check this out!)
Most people, even those who don’t consider themselves writers, have written poetry at some point in their lives. However, there are not nearly as many who read it for enjoyment. Why not? This is the age of flash fiction and music, why is poetry not as popular?
Amy Lowell once said: “Without poetry the soul and heart of man starves and dies…We should read poetry because only in that way can we know man in all his moods -- in the most beautiful thoughts of his heart, in his farthest reaches of imagination, in the tenderness of his love, in the nakedness and awe of his soul confronted with the terror and wonder of the Universe.”
So, how often do you bare your soul through poetry? How often do you examine the heart of another by reading theirs?


Jessica Ferguson said...

I like to believe more people read poetry than we know about. Poets normally don't hang out with writers of fiction or NF. And writers of other genres are fond of saying, "Poets are weird. I don't understand them." So ... people don't talk about reading poetry. Poets march to their own beat. I figure there are thousands and thousands and thousands of poetry readers out there... they're just incognito. :)

Hope ya'll have a great time on Saturday. Wish I could be there!

Sarah McCabe said...

I am one who doesn't enjoy much poetry, though there are exceptions. Possibly because I was forced to read so much poetry in high school that felt like it didn't have any soul at all. It seems to me, dare I say, that modern poetry tends to be all about cleverness and word play without much emotion. Also, I rarely consider poetry to be real poetry unless it rhymes.

I am more inclined to enjoy poetry written at least a century ago. And I have absolutely no skill at writing poems myself. High school proved that. Ugh.

Writer Gayle said...

I used to be addicted to reading poetry. Then I started working 80 hours a week and poetry just seemed so slow at the time. It was hard to read a description of a tree while I was juggling 10 different tasks at once. I admit I felt jealous over the writers who even had the time to look at a tree, none-the-less write about it in such detail and reflect on life. I decided that both reading and writing poetry were a luxury. Now that my life has slowed down, I had the time to pick up a poetry anthology, read the first line of a poem by Richard Hugo, and had set the book back down just to think about that one line, because it was so powerful. You can't say that about a lot of genres.

Kari Marie said...

I don't read poetry. I should. I've found that writers who read/study poetry seem to have lyrical flowing prose, even when they aren't writing poetry.

I struggle with it, but I try every once in a while. I enjoyed your poem though, could feel the longing in it's verses

Laurie Kolp said...

I am both a poet and writer of fiction and have to say there are MANY out there like me. I hope you start writing more poetry, Sylvia. You are very talented!

Can't wait til Saturday!

Margot said...

Hi Sylvia,
Ive done more song writing than poetry at least in recent years.

Your post does give me something new to ponder. There are things I stopped doing because they were attached to a set of memories and dreams that became impossible. I stopped doing things like poetry and painting to try to forget and move on. It seems now 30 some years its time to finally face those things. I thought I had gotten through most, over the past year, seems there is still more - I didn't realize it till I was recently asked to do a large painting. Your poem is lovely and I will follow you and plan to come and read more after the A - Z ends.

Blessings, Margot