Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I don't generally read poetry

There are many metaphors and allusions in them, names of mythological divinities, meant to symbolize the subject, that I just don't understand. But, making an effort to try something new, I dug out an old book, Treasury of the Familiar, and browsed some of the great poems of the ages. It is for just this reason that I collect anthologies, those old, forgotten Reader's Digest Treasuries, compilations of all sorts. The books that used to be on every shelf to provide a tinge of the immortal on dusky evenings by the hearth. So many people are touched by poetry, it seems ignorant to ignore it altogether. One thing I've noticed, it helps to read aloud, to get the full rhythm of the words.

The only forays into poetry that I myself have taken encompass my song lyrics, and a few very entertaining e-mails. It is a mood, once begun, that lasts in my mind for a while, setting words together, arranging ideas in consonance. It's a lot of fun, and can be quite meaningful.

I often think that blogging is immaterial, my personal ignorant opinion on all sorts of subjects, without regard to the true realities of matter. Subjective likes and opinions, that change as fast as they can be revealed. But friendship and community is often defined by what we share, the peculiar joys of delight in finding a common interest. That is why I can hazard to say, for example, that I revel in the eccentricity of the words of Poe, and sweep aside the whole of Shakespeare as out of my depth. But only for this time. Hopefully, as I branch out, a tasteful appreciation of more poetry will enter into my head.

But for all the passion in poetry, it is the commonplace that struck me in my readings this week. You might enjoy it too.

What We May Live Without
Edward Lytton

We may live without poetry, music and art;
We may live without conscience and live without heart;
We may live without friends; we may live without books;
But a civilized man cannot live without cooks.

He may live without books, - what is knowledge but grieving?
He may live without hope, - what is hope but deceiving?
He may live without love, - what is passion but pining?
But where is the man that can live without dining?

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