Just for fun, I signed up for WordPress University’s “Writing: Intro to Poetry.” Of course, if you’re expecting me to follow the lessons like an obedient little student, writing, as the first assignment suggests, a “haiku about water,” then you don’t know me at all. Poke around this blog a bit…
In all fairness, it’s been a while since I wrote any poetry at all (limericks don’t count, my Bonny Anapest!) so it never hurts to ease on in before throwing caution to the wind and consorting with villanelles.
The first poem has nothing to do with water (sorry, WordPress U.) and neither is Haiku. “Mats and Markers” is a short tribute to days – and days – gone by, when once we chose the prettiest of autumn leaves to iron between haphazardly cut sheets of waxed paper to use as placemats.
The cynic in me whispers, “Yes, little placemats full of death and dying…” My son might roll his eyes, having raked yesterday’s yard and watching his car shed dried leaves for a full mile at 40mph on the way to lunch today. But by all means, let’s write a poem about it.
* * *
Mats and Markers
At once, the leaves of autumn fell;
They flew and danced, then came to rest.
We raked them up, and saved the best.
Then, pressed between waxed paper sheaves
we preserved these red, gold, auburn leaves –
warm reminders, when winter grieves.
* * *
You may, by now, have figured out that I have a love-hate relationship with poetry – born of cautionary verses memorized from Beastly Boys and Ghastly Girls and seasoned with the Bard’s wry, pentametric iambs. Now and then, I can even manage to play it straight and write serious poetry. Not necessarily good poetry, but poems written with a straight face and appropriate poetic gravitas.
* * *
“Niagara” was inspired, not only by water (happy now, WordPress U?), but by a visit to the tunnels behind the Horseshoe Falls, once, when several young men who appeared to be students at a private school walked slowly through, singing Gregorian chants. It sent a thrill up my spine to hear them against the backdrop of a roaring curtain of water. I took a few liberties and changed the tune, but the event imagined as I wrote it, and the emotions inspired by the majesty of the falls, were real enough.
* * *
Its downward rush impels the soul – “Take flight!”
Do not dwell on sharp-clawed, bitter rocks,
That lie beneath the roaring, thunderous
Tonnes: “A trap, unwary, hopeful Fools –
Upward, upward, always upward fly!”
Sonorous tenor voices ring out bright
Against unyielding stone. Slick and dark –
Tenebrous tunnels cold with clinging mist;
Soft, “Gaudeamus igitur,” then,
Triumphant: “Iuvenes dum sumus.”
Life rings out from the catacombs
As sunlight parts the rushing veil.
et Pereant osores.