Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Poetry By Heart

I wish I had a photographic mind.  Then I could pull up hundreds of poems from memory and recite them word for word by heart.  Alas, that is not the case.  I have a few poetic lines tucked in the brain folds which rise to my lips to be recited for comfort, fun or for the “see I’m a cultured know-it-all “ gamesmanship face-off.  

I envision the substantial value of having great poems in my memory bank to use in crises. It is not likely I will be actually imprisoned (although one never knows), but at times when my thoughts imprison me in fear, loneliness or worry,  I would like to displace them with the well remembered lines of a beloved poem.  

The other meaning of by heart relates to writing a poem.  It is useful to know something about the technique of writing poems…like rhyme, meter, alliteration, metaphor, etc.
It is important to have some of these to use if we wish, but more important to remember they are tools and not the meat of the work.  That comes from the heart, the depths, the heat of the writer.  The tools cannot get in the way of the connection to the writer’s center…that sincere, authentic, hardscrabble voice of the soul…poetry by heart.

I am not saying that the words can be spilled on the page without discipline or some structure…because they then become just non-sense.  
Iambic pentameter you have a valid place in the world of verse, but don’t let me get so fixated on you that I cannot write by heart.

Photograph by Kathleen Tyler Conklin