Sunday, February 8, 2009

Why Not Devour A Poem?

What is a poem? Is it lines in meter, or rhyming words? There are so many things a poem is - and isn't. Words can be wonderful prose, but in my opinion, without a soul of its own a poem simply isn't.

For me a poem can touch the heart or can give us thought for up to the next week! One such worker of words is Wilfred Owen. His poem DULCE ET DECORUM EST, (a Latin phrase from a poem by Homer) written during World War I is graphic and poetic at the same time. He experienced the gruesomeness of that war first hand as a soldier and died as the war ended. Though uncomfortable, it puts you right in that place that many soldiers live while at war.

But why get stuck there? The light poems also give images that can give me pause. One such poem is small and descriptive. Carl Sandberg was a Chicago native with a love of his city and of nature. My favorite poem of his is centered on a weather phenomenon that many of us see but seldom envision as an animal. His poem Fog fits the silence and mystery that a cloud seeping through any city is like a curious cat that sits watching, and then walks on to somewhere else.

Small or large, visionary or grisly these words we call poems can organize into huge thoughts of a few precise words that can take someone to another part of town, or to a totally different world. For me they often give a sense of escape or of getting to know someone new - but that's why I love to devour them!

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