Thursday, January 6, 2011

Lips Like Strawberry Twizzlers

I have been faced with a lot of poetry lately, watching it fly by on twitter at 140 characters max. Some of it is lovely, some of it is unfathomable, and some I am sorry to say is just terrible.

I know I am not a poet. My most famous line was probably go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep little baby repeated over and over again while I banged my head (quietly) into the mattress at four in the morning. Dr. Seuss is the only poet I can quote (i.e. would you, could you, in a box? Would you, could you, with a fox?). Even as a child, I was pulled more toward the mystery, the suspense that is Are You My Mother? than the lyrical yet epic saga Horton Hears A Who (now a major motion picture).

Every ten years or so I decide to give poetry one more try. I have lived a full emotional life, have loved and lost and loved some more, I am tuned into nature and spirituality and I am good at finding words that rhyme so why not? I will start with loss, always a good basis for wrenching words torn from ones very soul. I think, I think, I think, and all I can come up with is “I wasn’t done with you yet you asshole! Cool sunset, thanks. I love you” Somehow I don’t see that being quoted on the evening news when someone leaves this world too early.

Love, love is grand! I can do love, surely? Love is wonderful, Love is good, thank you God, for our food. Yikes, I know that is paraphrasing bordering on plagiarism as well as blasphemy and I apologize for that, but how can one expect to capture all the ‘oomph’ of a really great love? How can someone plumb the depths of this most unwieldy of emotions when true love just keeps getting deeper? Higher than the mountains, deeper than the sea… it has all been said and people are still trying to capture the essence of oneness that is love.

Poets tend to do better at describing people that they love than love itself. Countless artists have lyricised the beauty they behold, beautiful dreamer, stardust in your eyes of blue, she’s got legs, hot for teacher… (Hey, don’t blame me, I didn’t write them). Poets have waxed… um… poetic for centuries. Shelley said “Art thou pale for weariness “, which I find terribly touching, and Masefield wrote “But the loveliest things of beauty God ever has showed to me Are her voice, and her hair, and eyes, and the dear red curve of her lips” which I think about sums it all up nice and neatly.

I tried to write a romantic poetic homily to my beloved once, but lips like strawberry Twizzlers and eyes like limpid pools of rich chocolate melting over the low heat of our eternal passion just reminded me that I was hungry so I made a really delicious cake instead.

That said, I have decided that writing (or even reading most) poetry is not for me. I can pour all that emotion into a really great soup or luscious cookies, or enjoy the act of bringing a cup of coffee to my dear heart in the morning when it is dark and cold and 5:30 AM. I can rhyme with Dr. Seuss while my sweet young progeny snuggle on the couch with me. We can all be poets, maybe not that of the written word, but poets of the soul, poets of life and, yes, poets of love.