On Poetry

At first, my vision for this blog was to heavily emphasize on my passion for running, but I’m going to mix it up tonight and lean more towards practicing my writing skills. I’ll be writing about running as well (I have an upcoming 12-13 mile run tomorrow, so expect a recap afterwards), but for now, I’d like to try something different.

I’ve always been intrigued by poetry. I was never good at it. I could never quite relay a message without saying the exact thing I was feeling. I could never turn my words into art, which is why I admire the way poets can turn their words into a beautiful masterpiece.

I’ve taken several creative writing classes when I was in college (willingly) They were not required courses nor did they fit into my schedule, but I didn’t care. I enjoyed the freedom of taking a class that you weren’t burdened to take otherwise you wouldn’t graduate. I took these creative writing classes late in the game, during my later years of college because I wanted to- and heck, I was paying for it anyways.

I had great professors and one in particular admittedly told me that I’m wasn’t good at poetry. I wasn’t offended. I knew it was true. It may still be true, but I’m glad she said it because it made me that much more determined to get good at it.

Another professor that I had in college introduced us with a poem which happened to be about poetry. Here it is:

Introduction to Poetry

“I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means”

-Copyright 1988 by Billy Collins

I found this poem humorous, but true.

The funny thing is, I’m quite good at understanding and interpreting poetry, however I cannot produce it myself. It’s ironic actually.

They say that those who cannot do, teach. So maybe I’m meant to be a teacher? (I doubt it)

Now, here is a love poem which I heavily admire, by a poet who I heavily admire:

“If You Forget Me”

I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.”

― Pablo Neruda

I take this poem personally. I wish I could write like this. A lot of writers draw from experience and the way that they convey their message is to make it relatable to readers. This poem is honest and true. The last stanza, which hits so close to home for me, resonates through my bones. The last stanza applies to the way that I love. I reciprocate the love that is given to me by the ones that I love. And so, in closing, here is my attempt at poetry. I used the above poem by Pablo Neruda as my inspiration.

I knew you once
for a brief moment in time
I knew your laugh
The color of your eyes
Your favorite shirt

I knew you once
The things that made you mad
The people you couldn’t stand
The way you’d react
to things you couldn’t control

I knew you once
Your smile
That look you gave me
when you were listening
to everything I had to say
I knew you loved me

But I don’t know you now
I don’t know where you live
If you have the same job
Or if you dress the same

I don’t know who you’re dating
Or if you’re happy
I don’t know if you still care
about the fact
that we don’t know each other anymore

But if I did know these things
I couldn’t move on
Because I knew you then
and now I don’t
because you’re gone

– Lindsey Lazarte