April 3, 2014

Max’s Musings

By Max Molleston

Most of you readers here have learned to enjoy some poetry. We enjoy a poem that uses rhyme, usually neat and pleasant sounds ending the lines. Sounds chosen to end one line and maybe the next; not using terms strange to us to identify how the poem is “rolling” along. As amateur writers and readers, that spoils our fun and may foil our interpretation of a poem.

Professors at the University of Oregon, Stanley Greenfield and A. Kingsley Weatherhead authored textbook THE POEM: An Anthology, published in 1968 by Appleton-Century-Crofts, New York City. It kicks off teaching key poetical terms we won’t deal with here. The initial examples, poems most familiar and recognizable to us: love poems. The authors point out this poem as a story. It is Wordsworth’s “She dwelt among the untrodden ways,” famous for its author and its sentiment.

She dwelt among the untrodden ways
Beside the springs of Dove,
A maid whom there were none to praise
And very few to love:

A violet by a mossy stone
Half-hidden from the eye!
— Fair as a star, when only one
Is shining in the sky.

She lived unknown, and few could know
When Lucy ceased to be;
But she is in her grave, and, oh,
The difference to me.

How many of us have had that stage of grief at the death of a loved one? This story, told as a poem, is condensed and composed with images we can realize. It is not uncommon for journeymen poets to hide intentions about a love inside a poem that seems to be about something else. Many years ago I composed a love poem and practiced “hiding” it.

The Meadow
A slight breeze blew towards something he’d
never seen: Hibiscus in bloom. How beautiful!
The bloom began to sway as winds increased.
Handling the blossom could do harm.
Earth in his hands and roots as one,
He appropriated his prize as the storm grew near.
The best men make mistakes about blossoming beauty;
mistakes about feeding and watering.
He had no claim on the Hibiscus but had taken it
under his care and into his loving gaze.

So much for poems that attempt to proffer love, or hide it inside a poem. That’s our visit for April. I want our next visit in May to be full of bright sky and warm earth, so we can get on with our lives and loves.

Filed Under: Personal Growth