Monday, June 1, 2009

The Poet

Writing poetry carries with it a certain image.  If you ever introduced yourself as a poet, you know the reaction you get from people. "Oh that's nice, now what were we talking about?"  I'm sure they are familiar with one or more general types of poetry.  Most probably hope  you won't launch into a reading.  Some will start e-mailing you their favorites from the "Greeting Card" genre.  These are usually in the form of rhymed couplets with a very contrived rhyming scheme.  Others may be familiar with some of the more modern styles with no rhyme and little way of telling them from prose.  Poetry organizations vary depending on the locale and the make-up of the group.  When I lived in Austin, I joined a poetry group meeting downtown near the University.  Many of the members were from the academic community and had a very different view of life and poetry.  I was intimidated at first.  I hated most of their poetry even though many were published many times over.  I rarely had any idea what they meant and on occasion was embarrassed by the crude verbiage.  My poetry is plain and understandable.  A lot of members liked it, to my surprise, and I won a fair number of prizes.  One day we had a guest poet (well known) but an academic with all the traits I deplored.  During his reading, I wrote this little poem.  I prefer poems containing some characteristics of rhyme and meter that make the words sing.  I do know some great poets who are academics, so this is not a criticism of those who have talent along with knowledge.  I hope you enjoy my tongue in cheek look at wordsmiths.  Poetry needs to be read aloud to be enjoyed properly.  

I Salute You William Shakespeare


If I could just remember who wrote what,

and what they said,

I would quote them in my poetry,

the living and the dead.


I would be obtuse and dark,

droning on in endless prose.

not caring where my poem’s been

not knowing where it goes.


They’d think I’m educated,

worldly, pithy, hard.

For sure an academic.

cutting edge, avant garde.”


I would throw the cesspool at them

from bathroom to bordello.

A gasp, a blush, a whisper,

“He is such a brilliant fellow.”


They would clap when I was finished,

softly sigh, and nod assent.

And wonder if the others

had a clue of what I meant.

Dennis Price