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Another side of Poetry

workstation for writing poetry

Before beginning the second post, post 2.a on poetry, I want to take the time to talk a little about myself. About ten years ago I made a conscious decision to stop writing, thinking, or doing anything to do with poetry. This was not because I did not want to write it, it was because I wanted it too bad. What I mean is that, I wanted it so bad but did not have what I found in some personal notes of W.B. Yeats to be called by him something like the component of age, or rather I did not have contained inside my brain enough information to actually write the things that I wanted to write with the Images I needed to write them. So, I undertook a ten year effort to be a sponge and learn as many things about everything that I could. What I was after is history, science, art, nature, facts, myth, anything that would help me be able to relate something in a new way. And these ideas are not so weird for poets, W.B. Yeats studied everything occult, mythical, spiritual, etc because he need his voice as I need mine.

I consider all the different things in life, the random facts we find along the way, images and these images are the second part of what a poem is. We write words, that describe things with images, and it is these images that power a decent amount of poetic devices. You cough have the best vocabulary, but as a poet without the ability to find the images needed to drive poetic devices like metaphor, simile, etc you would still be at a loss for words st. Now, one could study, search, listen, and learn for each poem, and that would get you to the same place. Heck, I still do the same.

Nevertheless, if you start today listening, learning, about anything that might be interesting you might come upon something you would have never seen before and be able to write something that would have otherwise not come to you. I mean what’s the harm in being curious, we are not cats. I promise you don’t need 9 lives and likely only better writing will come out of it. Now, I have a love for the Indian temples, the culture of ancient India, (not Native Americas, although, yes, that too), but when writing and using things like these be aware that history is written by the victors and try to find the perspectives on both sides. In the case of India, as I have not learned enough yet to feel comfortable I currently leave it on the table.

An example:

To think a mans fate is decided
not by the battle won or lost
but by the heart alone, is more
than one can bare. Atone we will,
but nothing can mend the deep hole,
the sudden blow, the empty chair,
the memories from smiling faces—
the stories of his wilder days,
before his parts started to give,
and now, all that is left is his
and his alone to give once more,
and he must face the coming storm
with his wife, his friends, and his kids to cheer
him on and back into their arms.
But that was then and this is now.
Today, even the gods of Rapa Nui
might succumb to such unwelcome
overwhelming power and force
as conquistadors landing in boats—
bent on pillaging the moorings
and invading the peaceful shores.

These aliens with wicked guns,
artillery to line the veins
with the platelets of the dying
and living blood defending his love;
to think a mans fate is decided—
before the battle’s even begun,
but still the heartbeats it’s thump
and a Moi stands as hope’s guard
against the coming force of knight
and crown against the thunderous thump—
refusing to give, refusing to take
an inch to the executioners scythe.

Amid the whir and clank of an E.R.
there are terms tossed around,
so that even the healthy become lost
in the beeps and strange noises keel
that gathers men like sirens calls
marching us toward the coast as fallen,
beloved to the one that’s taken
aboard the enemy ship as captive.

There is not a moment to gather thoughts,
the enemy is on the coast—
With their superior ships and weaponry,
they take by force our very souls
and shatter them against the rocky gods.
Defeated as never before
the Moi walk and lower their heads,
and beg, but conquistadors are aliens.

For him this wasn’t supposed to be
an evening of gathering folks,
For him it was the last day as himself,
and in the battle waged, he fought
until there was nothing to give but love.
Mike died a hero’s death among men
and family, his friends, and his beloved kids.
It was an honor to know him!

© J.P.V.

When my wife’s father had a heart attack, got worse, and later died I was in the middle of writing a different using Eastern Island images. Being stuck dumb with what was happening to him and at a loss my brain went to writing a poem about what was going on but I held onto the images I was using before, the result is the above poem. We could choose images of hospital settings or anything else, but no mater what we choose the nouns within our poems. Some images are more powerful than others.

She hit him with a stick

She hit him with a bat

That’s all I have to say about the images that words present, but I think they are worth thinking about.

  • The Thinker
    A poem I wrote while thinking about the lost statue, “The Poet at the Gates of Hell,” now known for just it’s center portion, The Thinker.
  • Children Spinning
    In youths youngest hour comes the dawn and we whirl around at the sky, and being young and in love
  • My Sweet English
    There are so many languages to love, but only one English to prize and take into ones arms with such fondness as to spark flames of passion high as angels might fancy to fly, my dear.
  • To be
    This rusted throne of kings, this gilded smile, This divine right of blood, this gift of sight,
  • The Plunge
    Around her I was Icarus with wings alight and burnt to nubs, now glowing as embers and garnets as I slowly descend into the adjust of knowing there is no longer an us and longing to submit to the plunge.
  • We Wish to be Kings not Free
    We wish to be a king not free of the autocrat or tyrant’s immortal knee on our airway— easier to be chained than change.

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