Sunday, April 2, 2017

Byron did: in praise of poetry

Byron did. So did Shelley and Yeats and Burns and Cohen and Atwood and Browning and...

'Let me count the ways' wrote Elizabeth Barrett Browning

But my ways refuse to be counted. My brain can't think like that. My pen won't write like that.

Lord Byron wrote:  'She walks in beauty, like the night' -- and women swooned.

Poetry is like French. It sounds pretty coming out of someone else's mouth. It pours out of someone else's pen. But not mine.

Metaphors as yummy as pettifor and language that would be swarmed by bees make poetry challenging to understand. Most of it sails passed my ears and over my head.


 A Coat by W. B. Yeats

I made my song a coat
covered with embroideries
Out of old mythologies
From heel to throat
But the fools caught it
Wore it in the world's eyes
As though they'd wrought it
Song, let them take it
For there's more
enterprise
In walking naked

We have poetry in our souls, they say. But I've checked. Mine has gone. If it was ever there.

Margaret Atwood wrote:  'We turned out the lights in the cellar and played Murder in the Dark.' Then she wrote, 'I heard that this game was once played at a summer cottage by six normal people and a poet, and the poet really tried to kill someone.'

I used to claim that my amazing dyslexic brain was to blame.

"People with dyslexia can't work with syllables," I'd say.

But then I read that Yeats had dyslexia.

Robert Burns wrote:  'My love is like a red, red rose.'

Maybe poetry is like a garden. Maybe it has to be seeded and carefully tended. Rhythm, rhyme, meter -- maybe if I studied... Maybe... But who has that kind of time?

It might be trite,
but it's also right --
I'm not a poet
And I know it.

Happy Poetry Month!!



"I have a story to tell"

Leanne Dyck's author reading
Sunday, April 23 11 a.m. to noon
Mayne Island library
Festival Active Pass

"Looking forward to seeing you there."

2 comments:

Laurie Buchanan said...

Leanne — I can't write poetry worth a lick, but I enjoy reading it. My two favorite poets are Mary Oliver (still living) and John O'Donohue (no longer living).

Leanne Dyck said...

Thank you for bringing these poets to my attention, Laurie.