I’ve just returned from having dinner with poets. What a peaceful and lyrical way to wind down the day! Conversation at my childhood dinner table with the family usually ended with tension or relief that it was over. Conversation with friends is filled with light laughter and politics and at the end, you feel “nice” but not “full.” Rarely will you have a memorable discussion where the wall slides down to let the truth emerge. (I don’t know if I’m explaining this very well.)
Tonight the conversation wasn’t deep but it was musical. It was as if everyone’s story was less prose and more melody. There wasn’t dialog; there were lyrics. Sentences weren’t filled so much with words as with color and image. A simple story of learning to prepare baba ghanoush was a Poem.
Again, I shudder at the way poetry was taught in my high school English classes: analyzed to death with meanings that the poet did not intend. I don’t know if I will ever be able to read T.S. Elliott again. To paraphrase Freud here (with apologies to William Carlos Williams): Sometimes a red wheelbarrow is just a red wheelbarrow. No wonder it took 35 to 40 years for me to discover what poetry is really about!
If you know anyone who writes poetry, if you hear of a poet that is giving a reading, if you feel led to write a poem, please, dive right in! The water is great!