Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
A lot of good poetry doesn’t rhyme.
I like haikus.
Poetry is a strange thing. Technically yes it’s just words. Pretty words. Yet so many people have such strong feelings about it? I remember in high school English classes whenever we got to the poetry unit, people would groan and complain like it was torture. I would feel an intense burst of joy. YES. Drown me in free verse, smother me in limericks, bury me in haikus. Please, let me try writing all of them. I am young and I think too much and for some reason my thoughts only make sense when I write them rhythmically with slight musicality in well planned organization using literary techniques. I feel better when I create poetry. It’s healing.
When I first discovered this beautiful release of poems, I also realized it would not go away at the end of the English unit. I couldn’t give this up. So I kept writing, everything from a simple quatrain to a more challenging villanelle style if I felt ambitious. I fell deeply in love with Robert Frost, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. I began submitting my work for publications and became a very happily published poet. However, poetry really isn’t a profession, you can’t turn it off. Not everyone can do it. If you can, it’s not always a blessing. It’s really a condition.
There are symptoms of poetry. You think way too much. People will tell you this as you stare off blankly into the sky planning your next poem or rant about the meaning of existence. You have ideas pop up for poems at terribly inconvenient times that cannot be ignored, so you carry a journal and pen at all times. This means pulling your car over, stopping your hairdresser, sitting on the floor of your local walmart, to write your ideas down. You will speak uncontrollably of your favorite poet as if they were a god or goddess and will not tolerate any criticism. You often utter the phrases “You just don’t understand it.”, “It’s art”, or “You have to read it more than ONCE.” Your laptop is your child/significant other. You want people to read and love and understand your work but would also have a heart attack if any eyes other than your cats saw it. You need poetry. You need to read and write it in the same way you need food and water. And when you can’t write anything good it drives you mad. Maybe you understand a little bit why a lot of poets went crazy. Maybe you feel a little bit crazy yourself. It’s ok. We all do.
If you have the poetic condition, I am sorry to tell you there is no cure. But I am excited to tell you that whether you believe you are talented or not, you are special. You have a voice, a voice that needs to be heard. Especially now. Poetry doesn’t all rhyme. It isn’t all in perfect lines of four, that’s what makes it beautiful. Each poem is a piece of your own uniqueness. I encourage you to put your voice out there. Let your art be absorbed. I can’t wait to read it.