17 April 2007

National Poetry Month, Part I

"April is National Poetry Month."

This has been mentioned in a couple of articles I've read in the newspaper lately, and it has also been mentioned on a couple of other knitters' blogs. I'm glad that April is notable for something other than being Income Tax Month in the U.S., and well, poetry is a fine endeavor. I wish there were more true poets than, say, politicians.

Beginning in the fourth grade, I remember the Statewide Poetry Contest for schoolchildren (probably in April). The premise was that children would submit poems that they had written, and a panel of judges would find the pearls in the rough sand. The reason it was a problem was because it was a requirement to submit a poem. Yep, even if you couldn't put an articulate thought together in a sentence, you were supposed to compose a poem because you were graded on it!

As I recall, there were also two themes to choose from: religion and patriotism. (Excellent choices, as neither is a loaded topic ...) When I attended Catholic school, religion (needless to say) was highly preferred as a topic over patriotism. To be honest, from the get-go, I thought it was all ridiculous, because even at an early age, it had occurred to me that some people had a natural aptitude or affinity for things, and others did not. It seemed to me that you couldn't force a person to become a poet, just to win a contest. Of course, you can threaten to fail someone, which will make them try to start rhyming words left and right - that's called motivation ...

Anyway, I remember that one year, my sister Mary Ellen said she would help me with my poem. I figured this was a good deal, because she was smart, and very holy.* What I failed to take into consideration was that she also had the family sense of humor. So here is the poem she suggested that I submit, due to its "Biblical" theme:

When I think about religion,
I just don't give a hoot.
'Cause even Mary Magdelene
Was a prostitute.

I immediately wrote something where "Flag" rhymed with "brag" and how great America was.

In eighth grade, I was all about the limerick as a form of great poetry:

There once was a virgin named Mary,
The Savior of all she did carry,
'Twas the angel of God
Who gave her the nod,
And said "Please just don't name him Harry."

I found this hi-larious, as it was so wrong, and my father's first name was Harry. But once again submitted something that showed my faith in our great nation.

I love words and language; I greatly admire anyone who can use them well, and make them meaningful to others. I think anyone can learn how to write a poem, or recognize a well-crafted poem. But not everyone is a poet, just like not everyone who plays the piano is a virtuoso.

Poetry as most of us think of it, is not my favorite thing. But you will never be able to convince me that the elegant use of language is not as beautiful as any Shakespeare sonnet. There are few things more rewarding than reading something that is beautifully written. Words from the heart and soul, on paper or in your head, give us all the chance to be our own poets, in our own lives.

*This was years ago. I cannot in any way comment on the current state of her soul.


Carol said...

I would have picked yours as the winner. Hands-down.

I agree 100% with the joy of a well-crafted turn of phrase. Nothing makes me happier (well, hardly anything) than opening a book, and immediately finding those kinds of passages inside.

Scarlett said...

Oh man, I love your poems....banging on table...more pretty please....

teabird said...

Ditto, Scarlett - and who said poetry has to be reverent, deep, solemn, or able to submit to academic scansion without giggling? I'd have chosen yours, too!

Carol said...

Only you. I wish I thought of that stuff in Catholic school, I could have gotten kicked out!

Carol said...

Yeah! And why do we have to pay a toll on the Freeway?

Carol said...

Thank you Bridget! I feel the same :) you may not be the Bridget I first thought you may have been when we "met", but you're definitely a Bridget I care about! Good luck!

Carol said...

Roses are red, violets are blue,

There's a winner on my blog contest,guess who?