Poetry – a High Calling

At times in my life I have wished I was a poet. I have even gone through periods where I tried to be a poet, where I wrote poetry constantly, day after day after day. The results of two of those periods stuck together are somewhere entitled ‘my collection’ amongst my files of reject material. They are the least bad, which I have kept to remind me that I did my best. But the truth is, I do not have it, the talent, the voice. One of my lecturers a long time ago, told me that poetry was a high calling and the preserve of the truly deep thinker. If so then I am demonstrably shallow as anyone who has experienced ‘my collection’ might witness. This makes me indescribably sad sometimes. It isn’t that I don’t like shallow people, I just don’t want to be one.

Writing for me is a variable pleasure and though poetry has figured here and there in my scribblings, stories have always been my thing. My favourite writing is when I am creating a good story, or novel, where characters, plot, expositions, landscapes, and the rest, are down to me. I want them to have depth, but I hear in the things said about my work, that it is, in fact shallow.

‘You do great dialogue’ says one. ‘You don’t waste time on describing too much,’ says another. Dialogue and lack of observational description are how we live our lives in a world full of activity and people, but they are not deep characteristics. They are, in a sense an avoidance of deep, as they are experienced through extroversion, not the silent thought of introversion, which, let’s face it, is the natural demeanour of the poet. I adore poetry, and have to regularly pass on books of it to others, not only to introduce them to new pleasures, but because I want to read new stuff, and if my bookshelf is weighted down with Yeats and Graves and all my other dead poet friends, I will keep lifting them out and revisiting them, not moving on and making room for the new which I am always interested to find. Only recently have I begun to understand that at the touch of a keyboard I can read new poetry and return to it as often as I like. So, I am currently following the blogs of two poets. They are Paul Steffan Jones on wordpress,  and Jackie Biggs, ‘a writer’s life’ on blogspot, both are distinct voices, quite different but equally not lacking in depth and quality – poets who have the good fortune to live with what might be termed a high calling.

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2 thoughts on “Poetry – a High Calling

  1. I would concur that poetry is a high calling and good poems are jewels to be treasured. The poet’s calling is certainly not for everyone, though many try to take it up as a “hobby”. I am reminded of a story I once read of John Steinbeck. I surgeon once said to him, “You know, I’ve been thinking I might take some time off one day and write a novel.” Steinbeck replied, “Funny, I’ve been thinking I would take some time off and perform an appendectomy.”

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