Saturday, February 8, 2014

How To Read A Poem

 If you're a regular follower of this blog you will know that I like poetry. As one who appreciates a good poem, and strives to write one now and then, I am well aware that in the grand scheme of things I am a member of a minority.

This doesn't bother me. We all have different interests and I doubt we want someone else to tell us what we should all like or dislike. Especially when it comes to what we read.

Why is it that poetry is not more widely read and shared? Some people blame the way we've be schooled. They might say we've been forced into studying it and having it thrust on us in a manner that requires we answer the right questions instead of simply appreciating it. And guess what? They may have a case, but I don't think that's anywhere near the whole of it.

Part of it is due to the fast pace of life today. To enjoy a poem, to really engage it, requires patience, a slowed down pace. Poetry isn't a skim job. You don't pick up a book of poems and see how fast you can slam through it.

Even I, who relish my poetry experiences, make the mistake of picking up a book of poems and trying to breeze through a few poems. It just doesn't work that way. A poem comes into existence through the distillation process and has to be received in the same manner.

All this to say I'd like to share one of my grandmother's poems titled Aftermath of a Stroke. Elizabeth Sandy was a remarkable woman in many respects, an avid reader and a lifelong dabbler in poetic verse.

Before digging in you may want to skip over to this web article on How to Read a Poem. A poem is not an op-ed editorial or a baggy novel full of digressions. Don't speed-read. Know that a good poem will reward you tenfold for the time you invest digesting it.

And that's the kernel of it.

Aftermath Of A Stroke
Here I lie, tight packed as in my Mother's womb
I laid with restlessness a full lifetime ago.
But still entirely I, altho I have no room
To move about and at my will to come and go.
But now -- I wander, freely in my mind
The long road thru the crowding mists of time,
And pause in my journeying now and then
To live the happy times again
Made bright indeed by sunset's glow!

Elizabeth Sandy

1 comment:

Liz Dovey said...

So much insight in so few words. A brilliant woman was she!