03 December 2011

what is poetry?

Not too long ago, I said that "I'll never be a poet because I'm too impatient".  I love to capture moments, thoughts, feelings and play with the words until I'm happy with them.  But I seem to lack the discipline to turn my hobby into an Art.  I've deliberately named the category for my writing on this blog (and the folders on my computer) "scribblings" as I don't see them as poems.  Maybe others do, I'm not sure.  When I was younger, I was obsessed with writing poems that were metred and rhymed.  Because that's what poems do, isn't it?  At least, that's what I understood then as poetry.  Now I've swung the other way entirely and amuse myself with writing scribblings that "sound right" regardless of metre and rhyme.  Sometimes I also want it to "look right", and focus more on the layout and the flow of the lines as the words themselves.  I suppose there's a balance to be struck.  Maybe from the discipline that I pursued when I was younger, to the freedom I need now, to something else in the future.

Ever onwards, ever changing.  What matters to me is that it is something that speaks to me.

But what prompted this little reflection was the Guardian's poem of the week from the end of December 2009 (Facebook brings up all sorts of randomness).  It struck a chord with me and I found that its rhyme and rhythm enhanced it all the more.  So I post it here for you to enjoy The Darkling Thrush by Thomas Hardy

The Darkling Thrush
I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-grey,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
    The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
    Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
    Had sought their household fires.

The land's sharp features seemed to be
    The Century's corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
    The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
    Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
    Seemed fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among
    The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
    Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt and small,
    In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
    Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings
    Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
    Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
    His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
    And I was unaware.

No comments:

Post a Comment