Saturday, February 15, 2014

On Poetry

On Poetry
The prudent or the wise may mull on things
but seldom speak – until the time is ripe.
The foolish spout whatever comes to mind
in thoughtless speech that rarely edifies.

And there are things that novices might say,
with confidence, that make the weary smile –
or wince.  And yet, each fresh new eye reveals
a pebble or a current that was missed.

And so, although I hesitate at this,
I'll venture now to set my thoughts to print.
And in this age, the ones to whom I send
my musings might be reading them today.

When life's a daily battle with the world –
or cares lie heavy on our shoulders, then
we rarely have the luxury of time
in which to read – and ponder – lines that rhyme.

For just as writing verses is a task
that concentrates the mind and taps the heart,
so also, reading poetry demands
a focus – and a pause, amidst the rush.

If verses have their rhyme and meter, then
the reading may be easier for some.
But with these or without, a poem casts
A spell upon the reader who responds.

For more than prose, a poem concentrates
experience.  The reader reads the lines –
and mouthing them or reading them aloud,
becomes the one who wrote – by magic art.

But it's not always so – from the writer's fault
or by the reader's, who, distracted, scans.
The music of the words, the images
may strike, at times, a chord – and stir the heart.

Or often, they may not.  What someone sees
as a sparkling gem – or full of meaning, seems
to another, comic, dull – or meaningless.
The incantation doesn't always work.

Some poems serve the palates of the world,
while others are like local meals that some
find comfort in from childhood, though their tastes
may seem, to others, strangely bland or harsh.

But being a novice, these – my thoughts, naïve,
on poetry might make but little sense.
So many things conspire to make or break
a poem – or the act of reading it.

Returning then to those who're harried or
have work or worry that consumes their time,
I still would recommend, as medicine,
a draft, at times, of verse – and even rhyme.

For poetry can give, to grayness, more
of light and shadow, sharper grain and depth.
And yet, with subtleties that waken sense,
may help us see the many shades between.

Writing, reading verses – both take time –
indeed, demand that time's demands be stilled.
But this is so with eating, making love –
and paying mind to children, elders, friends...

And each of us needs time for just ourselves –
and some may seek this depth in poetry.
Because our times distract and try our souls,
the words that call us back can heal and soothe.

But poetry can also light a flame –
or call attention towards the things neglected.
So verses can disturb, annoy, enrage –
But if this gives us depth, then all is well.

Can words be substitutes for action?  No.
So do not look to poetry for this.
But action, thought and speech are interlinked.
The poem speaks – and we are listening.

I've had my say, which might be foolishness.
And yet I'll send it out for you to read.
And though you may correct this blog-post, I
should still ask pardon for my impudence.

2014 February 15th, Sat.
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn

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