If An Ode Meant Something (sometimes what I feel about poetry)

16 Mar

There was a time when you could be a poet; when people aspired for this sort of greatness, an eminent word-smith who cobbled together feelings with language; who taught us something about ourselves in the inexpressible.

There was a time of Poesey – of metric met meters that took our fingers and said, “we hold your very throat, please pass over your soul?” We wanted this – to be owned by language and understood how a pale lake is really a mechanism of drowning. We ate our words and revered those who taught us how;who said that we must know how to lap up our language to truly be fed.

What do we learn now? That a bell marks time and tolls for no one? How can one see the Wreck, or a brightness that once stood for a city? How does one know that threads of yellow hair can contain death; there is no one now to tell our stories in this way. No madman on a ledge – we have shot that one. No metaphor meant meanings, and the Mothers who sowed it all committed suicide.

I wanted to tell my child that he had a chance; that he could share his stories; that we could live this way. I wanted to tell my child to fight for the pencil, but then: How does one commit such a murder?

No, friends, I am guilty too – along into the asylum went my very own notebooks; went the thing I cling to on hot nights when no one understands – when the mood strikes me, I reach up, out of my bed toward something that doesn’t exist anymore, and I yearn for a time of language that didn’t stand for anything; a time when language dripped thick; drunk on its own power to be.

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One Response to “If An Ode Meant Something (sometimes what I feel about poetry)”

  1. E.C. Harris March 16, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

    I read “a time when language dropped thick; drunk on its own power to be” at least 5 times. Beautiful line!

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