Am I a poet?

Goodness me, no.

I certainly have never called myself one. And I never will, for I am too old!

I used to write fanciful little limericks when I was younger, inspired by Tolkien, of course. The road goes ever on, and all that, about raindrops being like bits of broken glass. Classy. My mother told me that wasn’t a pretty description, but I so forcefully loved it that I kept it in anyway. What a small large headed fool.

I wrote little descriptive rhyming bits about all the girls in my class. They aimed to be humorous, and were received very well by my chums. Aren’t chums supportive.

I wrote what I, at the time, perceived to be ‘epics’. The lines still echo through my head, labour over them as I did at the age of 12.

Here is an excerpt:

Twenty thousand years ago there dwelled an old tree

Its beauty was so great, a splendour for eyes to see

Delightful charms it laid on people who dared to walk its way

It stood there drooping by night

But sprung up to life by day…

And so on, of course. It went on to erratically, messily describe battles and passions and disease through the passage of time. It trailed off somewhere vaguely, after about 20Β  pages, as my mind expanded a little more and became distracted by newer, shinier ideas.

And then, I grew to despise poetry. How absurd it all is, I thought, crossly, forced to analyse bits of Dryden I didn’t understand.

It shape-shifted before my eyes. It no longer had the elven eloquence Tolkien and Lewis and Wordsworth so earnestly declared it did. It grew horns and barred me from entry by using long and complicated words as weapons. I didn’t understand, and grew frustrated because I felt left out of a club in which I once felt welcomed.

I hate poetry, I told everybody. I am a prose girl.

So. I stopped writing it. Stopped reading it.

Until, a few years later into literary maturity, I happened across Langston Hughes. My goodness but he was raw and painful. And then he opened doors to me, doors leading to forms of poetry that didn’t rhyme, but which touched emotional chords within me, written by voices stamped and ravaged through the injustices of time – not the silken, baby skin of Wordsworth, that is for sure.

There ain’t no Klu Klux, on a 133rd.

And I grew to love it again.

So, no, I am not a poet. Poetry and I have a tumultuous, often disdainful relationship. The disdain is entirely mine, I am ashamed to say.

I daren’t dabble in it, for I would not do it justice at all.

But I love to read it, and reading other people’s poetry, especially on blogs, opens my mind more and more to it. Why, poetry is almost like an old, long lost friend!


What do you think of poetry? Do you write it? Do share some of your favourite pieces, if you feel so inclined, for I would love to read them.

21 thoughts on “Poetry

  1. I am not a poet, but I write a lot of poetry. Often it is just the challenges here on WP, but sometimes I go off and write what is on my mind. It helps me sharpen my language for prose. These days I rarely read poetry beyond the many poets I follow on WP so I can’t say I have a favorite.

    You need to “dare dabble” in it! Poetry is not going to break if you don’t do it justice (most of mine sure don’t do it justice, and I haven’t broken poetry yet πŸ˜‰ ). Play with it. have fun. Do WP challenges, etc. It is, as you say, a long lost friend, and like that old friend, you need to continue the conversation on your side as well. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • ‘It helps sharpen my language for prose’ – I went away and thought about your words here, and I do believe you have hit on something. Poetry doesn’t have to stand alone that is for sure, it can be used as a practise piece for refined prose. WP challenges seem like a good place to start. Thank you for sharing your experienced insight – I enjoy reading your little poetic pieces, so there must be a little poet hiding away in the corner of your mind!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, poetry has a wonderful knack of being able to do that – the more I read, the more I realise that one doesn’t have to be a master at poetry to write it, if it helps you say what you need to say. And those who read it, too, will understand ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed your post, I think we have all had our moments with incomprehensible poetry and even prose, being forced down our young throats at school. I do like reading poetry and I enjoy dabbling in it from time to time too.


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