Since my writing infancy, I’ve penned poems, though as a rule, I don’t “get” poetry. Oh, I understand my own, of course, and other free verse examples. But in high school and college English, I struggled when we had to analyze poetry. It took me forever understand meanings, and if you consider poetry styles, I’m clueless. Couplets? Sonnets? Sextets? Iambic Pentameter? Huh? I remember during junior year of college, digging into Walt Whitman’s When Lilacs last in the Dooryard Bloomed which (I think) was an elegy, written after Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, and struggling to get through it. I had a good professor, Dr. Reiss, and he got me where I needed to be, but the whole exercise felt like peeling bark from a tree with my fingernails.
Still, I write poetry even now, and I wrote a poem last summer and posted it to this blog, while undergoing what felt like a seismic shift when our only daughter was about to turn twenty. Recently, Robin, of Your Daily Dose honored me by reprising it on her blog.
Robin is one of the most generous blogging souls as it pertains to supporting other bloggers, and I was tickled when she featured me. But I was surprised, too, that with all the essays I’ve written over the last five years, Robin chose to represent me via a poem I wrote during the weeks when it seemed our daughter’s childhood was peeling away. When I found my poem on her blog, I had this golly-gosh realization. Oh right. That’s me. Sometimes, I write poetry.
Robin’s call-out made me realize something. The thing about poetry is that every word needs to be honed down to its absolute, essential meaning. Writing poems allows me to strip back words until I get to a nugget—a place where I can stare down the spare language of feeling, and digest it.
There are times in life emotion is so great, it's hard to express it. That's what poetry is for.A big thank you to Robin for reminding me.