So this poem, some might argue, goes against one of my carnal rules of poetry; don’t be teachy, or preachy. I honestly hate most philosophical poems, generally because they come off as either arrogant, or soulless and impersonal, and often all of the above. Other poems, in an effort to teach a lesson can turn me right off by being a pulpit rather than a research laboratory.
“No ideas but in things,” that motto from William Carlos Williams comes to mind. Shouldn’t we look to the world of our every day experience, and follow those things outwards in search of truth and beauty? There are no things in this poem. And just as there are no things, there is no apparent metaphor. Yet Stafford seems to get away with it, leaving me feeling humbled, and in touch with something true after reading it.
How did he do that? Any ideas? I’ve had this up on YouTube for a few days now, and I felt better after recording it. I had four good takes, and decided on the very first in the end. Several people told me already that they thought it was lovely. That word, lovely came up more than once. What do you think? Good poem? If so, why? How does he accomplish making me love this piece in spite of the fact that he seems to go against what I try to do as a poet? Leave your thoughts in the comments, and I’ll answer with my own thoughts on this. I think I’m figuring it out. He was a wise old trickster.
- Poetry fuels the soul (visibleandreal.wordpress.com)
- More on Writing from William Stafford (dadpoet.wordpress.com)
- A poet’s journey 1: How to behave in poetry (asopa.typepad.com)
- Creative Genius and a Few Words from William Stafford (dadpoet.wordpress.com)