Wednesday, April 17, 2019

I Think That I Shall Never See...

Image result for tree

A poem as lovely as a tree.

That's the first line from Joyce Kilmer's 1913 poem, "Trees," which is one of the more familiar American poems, possibly because it is often parodied. (For example, "I think that I shall never see a dog who does not like a tree.") The original poem was an immediate hit upon publication in Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, and Kilmer earned a whopping six dollars from them for his efforts. Fun fact: I didn't know until very recently--as in yesterday--that Joyce Kilmer was a man. Huh.

In recognition of April being National Poetry Month, I spent the week reading (at least) a poem a day. My two sources were the internet, and a book entitled A Year in Poetry: A treasury of classic and modern verses for every date on the calendar. Yes, all 365 of them, plus Leap Day.

Some of the poems I read were brief, such as the 12-line "Trees." Others were longer and much more dense. James Dickey's "Falling" is 2,162 words inspired by an air accident in which a 29-year-old stewardess (this was some years ago) was sucked out of an airplane emergency exit while in flight. I do recommend it if you're looking to spend a bit of time contemplating very poignant imagery of a woman plummeting through the air to her death.

I've always liked poetry. I never fail to be impressed by how much poets can do with their carefully chosen words. So, I was surprised that I didn't enjoy this week more. Poem-a-day felt kind of like a school assignment, and I found myself procrastinating and then sort of grudgingly getting through it so I could say I did. It rather reminded me of a mental version of planking.

As much as I would like to say that I am the kind of person who would eagerly make room for a poem or two every day of my life, I just don't see that happening right now. For the time being, I guess I'll stick with my usual habit of reading fewer poems less often but enjoying them more.

This week's Take It or Leave It is an unexpected Leave It.

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1 comment:

  1. There are some poems I like, but I often don't understand them. And being the poetry dunce that I am, I do tend to like them to rhyme o_0