I’m in the car this morning navigating the ice rink that is the high school parking lot. I was dodging teenagers and their Pontiacs and late model Cadillacs and somehow maintaining my positive disposition despite my daughters insistance on fighting with me about a 5 minute discrepancy in our schedules.
I’m only half listening to her because there’s a Soundgarden song on with lyrics that are speaking directly to my soul. My mind is thinking about poetry.
At Residency, the second most asked question (besides who my favorite poets are), was “Why poetry”. Nobody has ever asked me that before. My gut response then was “because it’s always been Poetry”, but that doesn’t really explain it and so I’ve been thinking about the question ever since.
As a part of my course of study I’m reading texts and collections of poems by famous poets and also googling things of interest that are related to see what someone outside that sphere of influence has to say about things. Here and there I am gathering bits and pieces of “Why”. Due to the demand of organization required by my left brain, I’ve been keeping a list. Every time I feel I’ve discovered another reason, I write it down.
When I began to listen to the lyrics of “Halfway There”, there was something about it that vibrated within me. Not any one word, but the arrangement culminating in an interpretation that bounced around inside of me and created ripples of thought.
As I let the waves take over, everything else began to fade into the distance. My daughters voice became muted. In my peripheral vision, I could tell by her movements, she was still speaking but I couldn’t hear it. All I could hear were the vibrations from “Should a good life be so hard won / is that what our dreams have become.”
My daughter got out of the car and refused to respond to me as I said “Have a great day. I love you”. I’m used to that by now.
As I pulled out of the parking lot I hit the rewind button so I could listen from the beginning.
I wondered, as I encountered the first 4 way stop if I could say what Soundgarden had said any better. The arrangement of those words flirting with perfection in my ears. I rounded the next corner and concluded that any form of imitation or rework of the same subject would fall so far away from the original and result in complete failure.
I pulled into my driveway and allowed the song to finish and kept the car running long enough to hear what the Universe had chosen for my next song.
It was “Lurgee” by Radio Head. Oh the mystery and mastery of the omniscient. Well played.
I want to write lyrics that not only heighten my sense of being and elicit recollections of feeling, but perhaps also to shine a light on something bright enough to move others to also see it and feel it with me. This is not coming from a place of ego. It’s a genuine desire to channel my endless empathy, and thought, and feeling into something worthwhile.
In order for me to do this, I have to get out of my ‘I Thought’, and commit to gaining a deeper understanding of the universe, Earth, and all forces at work on a random Wednesday morning in a High School parking lot. Based on what I know now, I have a long way to go.
I need to study my craft and fine tune my senses with experience. And it needs to be Poetry because that’s what was placed inside of me before birth. It’s thousands of thoughts waiting to be brought to life on the page with a syntax and vocabulary and rhythm that sing when read outloud or in the mind, touching the deepest part of one’s soul.
It’s the best answer to the question I’ve come up with yet to “Why Poetry?”.
Time to go add that to the list.
Image credit to: SHAI