Time for Six

It’s time to revisit our Earthling vs. Weird Poet chat.

Let’s review the reasons “normal earthlings” don’t read poetry:

1. They don’t understand it.
2. It doesn’t make sense.
3. They are “too stupid” to understand it. (Not my words.)
4. And it’s boring.
5. Poetry takes time—they’re short, but require contemplation.
6. Their 10th grade English teacher destroyed all possibility of enjoying poetry.
7. Lots of poetry seems like “nose-in-the-air-difficult-philosophical-clap-trap.”
8. Nobody likes to be looked down on.

Today I’m going to harken back to number six on our list why normal earthlings don’t read poetry.

Who has time for poetry?                    

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“Poetry takes time – they’re short, but require contemplation – and nobody has time.” says ericmwebb.

Now, Eric is a student of poetry. According to his blog, he’s in his second year of a Poetry MFA at Old Dominion. That’s pretty classy.

And a bold statement—nobody has time.                                                     

Yet, last I heard, we all have the same amount of time in a day. For most of us our time is used up by the responsible stuff of life—work, sleeping, snacking, driving, cooking, hanging up on telemarketers, attempts at pretending to exercise, personal hygiene, kid stuff—for the mom’s who have endured the blessedly agonizing throes of childbirth and for the dads who made that a reality.

The rest of the hours or minutes we devote to what we want to do. Mostly, that involves not thinking, unless you are a fan of Sudoku. Usually most of us are just tired.

Perhaps, Eric has it right. Who in their right mind would choose to read a poem and ponder it when we can passively be entertained by what my mother used to call the “The idiot box?”

Me, for one.

I like my idiot box. I like my “RAM, CPU, GPU, USB” box, too.

How much time do I spend with these two boxes?

A LOT. A REAL LOT.

Am I an idiot then? (Say it isn’t so, Mom.)

Yet, in my teensy allotted time here on earth, I take the time to read a poem or thirty/day. My daughter sews or crafts, another daughter collects recipes and runs, my son plays video games, my husband . . . oh yeah, he’s an idiot box guy. 

We’re given time to use as we wish.

It’s all about choice. Most choose something other than savoring a passionate delectable poem.

I’ll get back to the Contemplate word in the next post.

Who wants to think?                    1022921_79425194

But, we need to add a ninth one that goes with number six.

In response to this conversation, Zongrik.com wrote that “Poetry was ruined for the masses when the masses stopped wanting to think.” (She’s an an aerospace engineer. I take what she says very seriously.)

This is  a really loaded statement. I don’t use really a lot. But, this is really loaded. Let’s turn it around. The masses stopped wanting to think therefore poetry is ruined.

In my initial post on this topic, I mentioned that my husband doesn’t read poetry. One reason he gave was that he decided he was too stupid to understand it. Hear the cynicism in that statement? It’s unsettling. This is not a stupid man. He can add numbers faster than a calculator.

There’s a silly sign hanging around Facebook that reads: “How I see Math word problems: If you have four pencils and I have seven apples, how many pancakes will fit on the roof? My answer: Purple, because aliens don’t wear hats.” I am not ashamed to confess that for me math is little like the sludge in the bottom of a hot water tank. You could stir it up inside my brain and it will still just be sludge.

I don’t want to think about math. But, because our world revolves around order, I have to. At least the basics. But, I have a calculator for that sort of thing. I don’t have to think too much.

And the Mister, because he’s a married man, must venture into the world of poetry only two times a year—my birthday and Mother’s Day. But he just needs to take a trip to Walgreen’s, close his eyes in the card aisle and pick one. Anyone. I once got one that said, “Belated Sympathy.” I appreciated his sentiments. Hallmark did the work for him. He doesn’t have to think.

Who helped us not to think?

Technology? Poets who sell their poems to card companies? Has our not thinking ruined poetry for us? Or was poetry ruined for the masses?

Or did culture ruin poetry for the masses?  Or . . . 
is there just too much competition for our thinking time?

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I’m reblogging Kris Swanguarin’s insights on why even poets struggle with poetry. He has some interesting turns of phrases that you’ll enjoy.

Milk of Moonlight:

The secret is out. Poets in their soul of souls don’t like a lot of poetry.

A month of Sundays ago, over at J. Lynn Sheridan’s poetry blog, Writing on the Sun,  was a breezy post called, Secrets from a Poet. She began an occasional series on why people don’t like to read poetry. As I suspected and Sheridan confirmed, many if not most people experience poetry as a gigantic bag of wind.

The week before she posted that her husband had admitted he didn’t like poetry and she wanted to know why. She posted his reasons: “It doesn’t make sense.” “He doesn’t understand it.” “It’s boring.” She also included many comments from readers who share their reasons for their poetic antagonisms. Then, she did the unexpected, the improbable and the shocking. She admitted that even she, a poet herself, not only sympathizes with these sentiments…

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Welcome to Writing on the Sun

A poet lives in a perpetual state of wonder and wander. S/he is a nomad yearning to package a thought or feeling or event in verse, to save it, to relive it, to share it. We are really just word photographers. Some say word painters.

The title of this blog comes from Willa Cather’s novel, My Antoniá. On page 183 she describes a farm plow on a hill during the sunset:

“The sun was sinking just behind it. Magnified across the distance by the horizontal light, it stood out against the sun, was exactly contained within the circle of the disk, the handles, the tongue, the share, black against the molten red. There it was, heroic in size, a picture writing on the sun.”

To me, that describes a poem. It is just like the outline an object creates when it hugs the sun.  For only a moment you can see a black image, like the flash of a camera, it is there but for a moment. We capture that scene with words.

I want to share some of my fresh poems and some rusting poems– a few have ribbons hanging on them, a medal or two perhaps but most are just for wondering or wandering about inside Creation. All are for exploring. I welcome you to my home, to settle into a comfy chair with a cup of coffee and slip inside a poem or two

. . . if only for a moment.

(Don’t forget. All content is copywrited. If you decide to share a poem, please give credit to the proper author.)

(The photo in the header is courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.)