Pound on my Eardrums and Sing with my Soul

I wrote my first poem on the blog yesterday. My inspiration came from sitting at my desk, staring at nothing for 20 minutes until I finally realized what my eyes were fixed upon. It was a CD by Connie Dover titled The Wishing Well. I had two thoughts when that information crossed my mind:

1) I love Celtic music. In this day and age, no one my age listens to Celtic music. I’m not sure what other hear when the songs come on, but I know what emotions are triggered in my own head. I am poised on the threshold of a ragged cliff, the wind tugging on my skirt and running its fingers through my hair; one slightest slip and I will go hurtling off the edge. But deep inside, it doesn’t even matter. For it is because of this wild beauty, this rawness that I rooted to this spot. The sheer power of what I am feeling, the awesome wonder that my eyes behold on this rock face is enough to draw tears before I push them away like strangers that are not welcome. I am too strong to cry — but the very fact that this will bring me to tears is the reason that I keep listening to such music.

2) The concept of a wishing well is absolute brilliant. I would’ve like to been there when a girl (it almost certainly had to have been a girl) was twirling a penny between her fingers and wishing beyond any hope that she possessed. But then it all changed. She blinked and suddenly the penny was spinning into the depths of the well before only the echo of the splash remained. She blinked and her wish hovered in her mind, waiting to be released and fulfilled in its time. And in this moment was birthed the first wishing well.

And these points created my poem.  It was simple enough, written quickly as practice for my novel-writing month when I write about 2500 words per night and just need to get the ink on the paper.  It rhymed and told a straightforward, simple story.

Although my own poetry last night didn’t quite capture the allure that the style has for me, there are other poets who have.  For example, Sara Teasdale.  I accidentally ran into her poetry at a garage sale of all places.  My grandparents were selling some of their old things and I had just been relieved of my duty of cashier by my sister.  I decided to explore some of the items displayed on the table and as I finished my rounds, I noticed a book with a faded, red cloth cover.  No thicker than my pinky finger, it was old even then and the gold script was peeling off, yet I could still read the words:  Love Songs by Sara Teasdale.  This of course piqued my childish interest and I slipped the book behind my back and ran to the swing set in the back yard in order to indulge myself.  I still own the book though it’s currently lost somewhere in the moving boxes.  It’s one of my favorite books and some of my poetry is based on her structure and her style.

What a master of words, she is was.  She’s dead now — actually she has been for quite some time considering she died in 1933 — but I’ve never read the words of another poet that have grasped the paradox of seeming so innocent and knowledgeable at the same time.  Her poems, though written with an air of sweet naivety, are filled with the longing and regrets of a woman who is tired beyond her years.  When I say tired, you know the kind that I mean.  Namely, the kind of tiredness associated with a constant waiting by the phone for a call and never receiving it, the exhaustion that results from bandaging up a broken heart one too many times, the encompassing weariness that  comes from hopes dashed upon the rocks of reality like the driftwood of a shipwreck.

Poetry is the most beautiful form of literature, in my opinion.  Poets work within parameters such as rhyme scheme, meter, stanzas and so on…each word counts with immeasurable importance.  Every choice is deliberate.  Why use “white” to describe the color when you can insert “ghostly” and inspire a haunted emotion along with the overall appearance?  Other types of writing describe the gates of heaven; poetry must sound like the angels singing that welcome you in.  I’m a poetry snob.  If it doesn’t roll off the tip of my tongue like waves that kiss the Mediterranean shore, then it’s not good poetry.   In my opinion, poetry sounds most beautiful when rhyming and when spoken aloud, the words should float on the air and dance upon your eardrums.  A poem will caress your cheek with one stanza and wrench out your heart with its stony fist in the next.  A poem’s sole purpose is to wreak havoc on your emotions!  That’s why I love poetry.  I’m a very passionate person and my daily moods are as varying as the ones in a four stanza sonnet.  I understand the strength of the words and I can feel them as deeply as if they were imprinted in my skin.  My soul will bounce with the happy phrases and curl in the fetal position as the sad syllables crawl through my mind like the tears on my cheeks.  My face may not betray many emotions, but my soul will feel everything like the feelings were my own.

*Side note: I despise free verse poetry. There are no rules!  You can write in whatever style and structure you want! That’s not poetry.  That’s a lovely piece of writing, but it’s not poetry.



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