Learn from the master
| My wife showed me a poem that I had written for her back many years ago when we were dating. Damn, it was really good. I didn’t even remember it. She did. So as romantic as it sounds to write poetry to your sweetheart, it’s pretty dismal when you can’t even recollect it.
I don’t know when I wrote my first poem. It could have been the one my wife showed me, but I don’t think so. That poem sounded pretty polished to me. But maybe it was my first and I just spent a long time on it. Or maybe I just have a natural talent. Yeah, that must be it.
I think if you told someone that you write poetry you might get some funny looks. Even today, in this age of enlightenment. It’s not very manly, right? But if you think about it, many of the world’s greatest poets were males. And I’m sure they weren’t effete. Robert Frost, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Edgar Allan Poe are some of the best-known American poets.
Sure, Poe is probably better known for his ghoulish mysteries, like The Pit and the Pendulum and The Tell-Tale Heart, but will we ever forget The Raven? Nevermore. I just reread that timeless ode and marveled at it. Yes, everyone knows the first few lines of the poem by heart, but it actually has quite a few stanzas. Talk about rhythm and rhyme! I have no idea what he would have done if his lost love was named Elizabeth or maybe even Sally, instead of Lenore. My poems are much more modest, to be sure. (Now I’m rhyming words with Lenore.)
Just a note – Poe also had another poem called Lenore, so he must have really had something going on with her, but he actually married his thirteen-year-old cousin, whose name was… wait for it - Virginia. Well, in all fairness, how many rhymes can you come up with for Virginia?
But Poe, while quite the genius, was also something of a nutcase in my opinion. Go back and read some of his stories and you will understand what I mean. And if you think The Raven has a lot of rhymes, just read his poem The Bells. This guy was the Master of Rhymes. He had bells in his noggin. I counted sixty-one times he used the words bells in that poem. I may have missed a few, but what the hell, who can tell? There may be less, there may be more. No one’s keeping score.
Maybe you have to be a little batty to be a poet. I don’t really know… anymore. (Damn, I’m good.)