(In this guest post, writer/poet/photographer Jeffrey A. Scott** whets our palates with samples of good poetry, including his own. Enjoy this piece, and please leave a comment!)
I was recently asked what sort of poetry I preferred. It’s an interesting question, but kind of like asking what sort of food I preferred. Not an easy thing to do when you enjoy a wide variety. And like food, some poetry can be liked by one person, and despised by another. Perhaps the better question would have been, what are my favorite varieties of poems and why? And what are a few examples?
Well, I’m glad you asked.
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
Poems can also express how one is feeling at any given moment. The character Rita from the film “Groundhog Day” was disgusted by Phil’s egotism and gluttony. She finds the best way to describe how she feels is to quote partially from the poem “Breathes There The Man.” Read this excerpt and see if you can tell how she’s feeling:
Breathes There The Man
The wretch, concentred all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonoured, and unsung.
–Sir Walter Scott
Sometimes poets just want to make you smile. If you think about it, a lot of Dr. Seuss’ books are written in a poetic style. Or take the “Owl Critic” by James Thomas Fields. Surely, it stresses a point, but it’s funny nonetheless.
When I was much younger and first started writing poetry, I did so to be funny. The following is an early poem parody I wrote. Can you guess the poem it parodies?
I think that I shall never see
an insect lovely as a bee.
A bee whose hungry mouth is pressed
against honey, second rate at best.
A bee that can’t see all day
because to many eyes are in the way.
A bee that may in summer wear
A risky yellow – people stare.
Upon whose belly honey has lain
and sticks to windows on the train.
Parodies are made by fools like me
but only honey comes form the bee.
Making A Point
I first started taking poetry seriously in high school when we were required to read and comment on what different poems meant. The following poem quickly became a favorite as I always felt invisible to everyone else. It was almost as if the poet was writing directly to me:
I’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us–don’t tell!
They’d banish us, you know.
How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!
Embrace the Dark Side
I’m a person who has always embraced my emotions, both positive and negative. So reading some thought-provoking or ominous poems can be
enjoyable. Many have read “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe. It’s one I quite enjoy. Death is a part of life, and Poe captures the imagery of such quite fantastically, even as he’s driven insane. It’s certainly worth a read.
In my endeavor to be a well-rounded writer (and to prove I’m more than just a jokester), I’ve tried my hand at writing poems of a darker nature. I’ve included one I recently did and am quite proud of. I hope you think so too. It certainly tells a story.
It was a quiet and lonely night
As I closed my eyes in thought
Feeling the rush of wind on my face
And then I was scared no more
I was calm and my body went limp
Remembering the joy of youth
All was safe and I was happy
And then I remembered school
I was awkward and dysfunctional
But my friends were just as much
We were ready to take the world
And then I remembered Melinda
Had an embarrassing crush on her
She was my love and desire
But it was false and unrequited
And then I remembered Mary
Our wedding was delightful
Found someone who wanted me
Willing to give her all I could
And then realized it was a scam
And then I remembered all the fights
And then I remembered when she left
And then remembered what I had done
And then I hit the ground
So what sort of poetry do you prefer? Ooops, sorry. What varieties of poetry do you like, and which are you partial to?
Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
— from “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll
**Jeffrey A. Scott hails from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Writing and photography have been his passion since childhood. In addition to having a photography and poetry blog, Jeffrey also runs a Doctor Who-themed blog and a Biggest Loser blog.
© Sweepy Jean and Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World, 2011