Saturday, July 18, 2009

UNIQUE

So, I'm taking this class on writing instruction (no, I'm not quite clear on why I would ruin my summer by taking classes) and we've finally gotten to the part on poetry. Anyone who knows me knows my views on poetry. I've scrawled my venom about that genre on enough "men's" rooms walls and underpasses.

One interesting concept though. In one essay I am reading, one of the authors discusses the idea that children are naturally attuned to poetry, that they respond to the rhythm, the feel, the musical quality. This idea about the physicality of poetry resonated with me because I could see a parallel between this view and Chomsky's ideas about how we're hotwired for language and our innate grammar emerges through conversation patterns that we're exposed to as small children. The disconnect for children where poetry is concerned then, perhaps, starts to occur when they are exposed to it in written form. Approaching it in that manner, seeing the words on the page removed from the context of the aural, perhaps for some, is a difficult obstacle to overcome. Just a thought.

So....as long as we're talking about poetry, one of my assignments was to write a poem. Now keep in mind that I am not a poet, nor have I even tried to write a poem in the last twenty five years. Some people have spoken about the poetic character of some of my prose, but that's far removed from constructing poetry. Okay. I'm stalling. What follows then is my first poem in a very long time. It's not good, but at least I'm trying to be open minded.

IF I AM UNIQUE, THEN YOU CANNOT BE—SORRY

IF WE ARE ALL SPRUNG FROM A COMMON SPRING, THEN WE WILL COME TOGETHER AGAIN.

BUT IT WON’T CHANGE WHAT WE ARE NOW.

THIS IS NOT A CELEBRATION, THIS IS REALITY AND IT DOESN’T MATTER.

SOMETIMES I SIT REMOVED AND STRUGGLE

SOMETIMES I THINK ABOUT MY SUPERIORITY

MY ARROGANCE, MY INSECURITY, MY MADNESS

BUT IN THE END I FALL BACK ON THE SAME THEME

IF I AM UNIQUE, THEN YOU CANNOT BE---

BUT WOULD IT HURT ME TO SMILE?

9 comments:

Rick said...

Pablo Neruda is just going to have to move over.

Demon Hunter said...

It's not bad , Stewrt, especially after 25 years. :-)

Charles P. Zaglanis said...

This touched me in places that have never known the light of day. Truly a troubling view of a unique mindset.

Jon said...

Oh, how long have I waited for this? Fifteen years? Eighteen? And now...now, the time is here, the poem is written, things fall apart, the center cannot hold, and Time itself unravels into that unsprung spring. Would that I could mock it, shred it, bust it up. But Demon is right...not bad. Now Charles, what's this about Stewart touching you where the sun don't shine? We'll speak further on this tomorrow evening, Sternberg...and it better be good.

Akasha Savage said...

Not Bad...not bad...and the last line made ME smile! Incidentally, a few weeks back, one of my writer friends (and she writes excellent poetry) dragged me along - complete with one of my not so excellently written poems - to a poetry workshop. The tutor there read out our work and then we all had to put our heads together and analyse each others written pieces.
It was a real insight hearing the views of others on my simple little poem, all the meaning that supposedly was behind my thoughts, words and ideas. It freaked me out a bit. I think I'll just stick to my dark fantasy tales...it's a lot less frightening!

L.A. Mitchell said...

nothing gory? Is this poem true to the real Stew? Seriously, thanks for sharing :)

Stewart Sternberg said...

RICK
I don't delude myself about my poetic talents. But you should see me juggle.
DEMON
Thanks for the compliment. Wait till you see what I come up with the next twentyfive years
CHUCK
Thanks for the image...now we're both poets.
JON
Don't hate me because I'm beautiful...hate me because I'm not. Is that a poem?
AKASHA
Hearing feedback on one's creative expressions always takes getting used to, don't you think?
LA
The real Stew? Would it help you to know I had just butchered someone and was gnawing on a bloodied haunch at the time I wrote this?

Mike said...

Your observations on how children respond to poetry resonated with me..I've often wondered why children seem to be so fascinated with the poetic form (virtually every child's book uses it).

I think you're right...the repeating sounds, the lilting lyrics, the sheer pace of a poem--all of these make sense if you consider that children are hotwired for language.

Anyway, thanks for the thoughts. I look forward to reading more.

Barbara Martin said...

It's a start and not too bad. The ending made me chuckle.