On My Writing Poetry

I attained fifty-seven years, nine months of age
Before attempting to make a poem appear on a blank page
Professionally I am a microbiologist engaged in research
In my scientific writing words don't gracefully flow,they lurch
So conveying my meaning through poetry for me is quite a stretch
Not surprisingly, my son asked " Poetry? What's the catch?"
This skeptical son knows a lot about things literary
He is really smart,despite his siblings'opinion to the contrary
After all he has started his sixth undergraduate year at LSU
He might even graduate in 2002 unless he changes his major anew
My son said "Go for it,Dad. After all, how hard can it be?"
To which I replied "Oh yeah. Why don't you try it and see!"
He started "There was once a pretty girl from Nantucket"
"No,no"I interrupted."Your concept is like a drop in the bucket.
Unless you can be more serious any further discussion is moot."
He next tried "About whatever whatever most don't give a hoot,
Why even to me it is no more than a bean-eater's poot."
Angry and exasperated I interrupted him a second time,
"Writing two sentences that both end in words that rhyme
Is NOT what poetry should be all about;rather a poem must convey
The poet's message or meaning to the reader in such a way
That it touches his intellect,his emotions, or his soul,
Opening his mind,lifting his spirit,letting him view things old
From a perspective new,while providing enjoyment and satisfaction
Elicited by the poet's choice of words that bring a reation
A well-written poem should grab the reader's interest directly
Then carry him along,not letting him rest until ending correctly.
Go read "Annabel Lee" or "The Charge of the Light Brigade"
And then this last point for me will have been well made.
Still more than that, a poem's subject may be something profound
Deep,important,even dark and depressing,or turning things around
The subject can be lighthearted,fluffy,decidedly humorous or gay,
Poems may evoke a smile,a tear,happiness or depression,either way
Good poetry should linger in the mind of its reader for awhile."
"Sure's a lot to poetry writing" my son said with a smile,
"Dad, I say this with a great deal of hesitation and trepidation.
What makes you think you can write good poetry?"...Good question!

Harry Edward Gilleland      08.16.01    printer friendly