Poetry has always been something that speaks to a part of me. A part that always feels undefined, childlike almost. It is as if the language of poetry is a 'new language' that I am learning all over again as I hear the words spoken. I sit there listening, recognizing vowels and sounds, and it feels familiar. I may recognize a phrase or thought or two; but it takes hearing it again and again for the meaning to really come through. Sometimes it takes time after time, and the absence of sound for yet another meaning or facet of the language to become apparent.
Like every other teenager, I tried my hand at poetry. Slapping a few lines together with the words rhyming at the end. (Nothing seems to rhyme with orange.... :) ) I realized that I had very little aptitude for writing, but a great appreciation for consuming poetry. My preferred styles are towards what you might consider the 'pauper' or 'layman' poetry. I like the poetry to be simple, so that my imagination can run with the imagery. How great a picture can you paint with the least amount of words? I am not wowed by complex verses, tempos that beat you into submission trying to understand them, or dark and complicated imagery. It may seem a bit simple of me, but I like the poetry that anyone can read, and can easily recite with perfect meter and timing without much thought. Robert Frost, Walt Whitman, Dylan Thomas, etc... The imagery I gravitate towards is that of open roads, nature, exploration, humanity. I have never really cared for the love poems; and always giggled at a good limerick, and there is always room for the classic beatniks.
"I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked," - Opening line from 'Howl' by Allen Ginsberg.
Recently when we were in Holland we went to a museum that had an exhibit about wind power. On the wall was a poem (in Dutch of course), and while I couldn't fully read what it said, I could guess at the imagery. Perhaps I will put that at the top of my list to translate when I fully understand Dutch.
The poem in the museum reminded me of a simple poem by Robert Louis Stevenson that I had come across in years past. A poem about the wind.
I saw you toss the kites on high And blow the birds about the sky; And all around I heard you pass, Like ladies' skirts across the grass-- O wind, a-blowing all day long, O wind, that sings so loud a song! I saw the different things you did, But always you yourself you hid. I felt you push, I heard you call, I could not see yourself at all-- O wind, a-blowing all day long, O wind, that sings so loud a song! O you that are so strong and cold, O blower, are you young or old? Are you a beast of field and tree, Or just a stronger child than me? O wind, a-blowing all day long, O wind, that sings so loud a song!