Poetry is something that I never bothered much about until I was 14 or so. Like all first timers it was Nature that attracted me to the brilliance of poetry. Nature lovers have always written amazing poetry. To start with there is the all famous William Wordsworth. He wrote a lot of nature inspired poetry and we studied him in school too; a poem rather than him, actually. “Lines written in Early Spring” was the chosen one for us and it was a good read. But it didn’t haunt me like other few ones I read. It didn’t make me imagine his words in a movie reel; didn’t make me want to re-live the poem again and again. It had a good imagery and a good message but the tempo of interest fell almost as soon as it took off!
The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.
If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature’s holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?
The other poem that did get to me was “The West Wind”. Unlike, Wordsworth, Masefield’s poem gave me goose bumps. It made the words come alive. I was never a fan of poetry until I read this one. It was the first time that Poetry spoke to me the way it did. Coincidentally, it happened to be about winds and orchards and flowers. It was after I read this did I stop and pay attention to others in my book. There were some real good ones and some by such poets that had I known their powerful authority over Literature I surely would’ve made it a point to memorise them all!
“Will ye not come home brother? ye have been long away,
It’s April, and blossom time, and white is the may;
And bright is the sun brother, and warm is the rain,–
Will ye not come home, brother, home to us again?
The “Will ye not come home brother?” had an effect most profound. It made my heart to bleed, to pain. I could feel it in me. Masefield was the first to speak aloud in rhymes.
First, but not best! Although he didn’t only speak in rhymes, W.H Auden, gave a new meaning to Poetry. When he called poetry a “mouth” in his “In Memory of W.B Yeats” I understood the significance of it. My school professor did an amazing amazing job explaining it to us. The nuances and the under currents of the sociological conditions at the time was well enunciated. It was an extract; just the second and third part of the three part poem and I remember writing pages and pages of explanations, summaries and notes. It was an effort well worth. Auden is right there in the upper most echelons of my favourite ones.
You were silly like us; your gift survived it all:
The parish of rich women, physical decay,
Yourself. Mad Ireland hurt you into poetry.
Now Ireland has her madness and her weather still,
For poetry makes nothing happen: it survives
In the valley of its making where executives
Would never want to tamper, flows on south
From ranches of isolation and the busy griefs,
Raw towns that we believe and die in; it survives,
A way of happening, a mouth
This, in all probability, was when I understood that writing blank verses and making them poetic was a more difficult job than rhyming. Poetry is a little something that not all of us understand; that not all of us give it the due respect. After all, so the amateurs say, they’re just lines. But little do they realize just in how many ways can a poets work be interpreted, in how many, sometimes diverse, directions it might run!
Poetry is most definitely a mouth.
And it speaks the truth!