July 29, 2013

Max’s Musings

By Max Molleston

I compose poetry for those of us not schooled at University, even though some of us took an English Literature core course. I can be serious or write a poem that is filled with humor. Both are interesting for the poet, and one style may become the other as the muse driving the idea changes from the driver’s seat to the passenger side. To me and other poets who have been writing for decades, initial intentions can be side-tracked for a time, and reintroduced, or thrown out. I am a poet who keeps what I don’t want to use for one poem. Usually I have spent time figuring its use before the discard. Another clue to poetry “production” is how it can turn from the intended nuance to a new emphasis. Decades ago, I was seated on my deck, or maybe it was just a slab of concrete we called a patio. It was in the 1980s, a few years into poetry writing, and I cut rhyme loose and moved into lines and thoughts not tied down that way. I have used this poem in another column or two over the years to make one kind of a point or another. The title is

Look at the flower, view it’s beauty
see it’s growth fascinate.
So it is with us.
We are on view yet people
do not see all of us.
We must wait like the flower,
our growth revealing more
so those who care
can see us as we are
and behold our beauty

Did I know the path this poem was about to take? Of course not. I am reasonably sure I could have gone on to work through on parts of the blossom in terms like pistil and stamen, essential to reproduction of flowering plant life. No. Instead, I began to work the poem as a metaphor, where one thing’s “gear is shifted” to another. A flower in my back yard became a metaphor to humans, as we grow in the ways we do, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Did I know that was going to take place? No. That is the pleasure and pain of writing, and in this case, a poem. Unless writers produce an outline to lead the way, their work is liable to be a mess to untangle for it’s meaning and purpose. Even a short poem, ten to twenty lines, can dive and surface, to search for meaning. This poem used the first two lines, the way I put it together, on plant life. The switch to the human perspective was quick and lasting. Good sense in poetic form. “we are on view yet people do not see all of us.” The muse transfers from plants to humans. The final four lines seem romantic but may hold more truths about our condition than we are prepared to share. “We must wait like the flower, our growth revealing more, so those who care can see us as we are and behold our beauty.” This poem deals in desire. “and behold our beauty.” It’s direction allows us to realize ourselves. It possesses a sentimental emotion, wanting to be simple but complete in reasons and outcome.

I don’t often push this column in this direction. I hope it was as direct to your brain and your artistic sensibilities as I wanted it to be. For September, I plan a trip to an area library. It is more in my area, but can be a day trip, too. Solon, Iowa and its new and stunning effort to make the life of Emily Dickinson shine forth. Please join me here next month.

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