Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

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Poetry Friday: “Things Worth Saying”

Inspiration really can come from anywhere: love, nature, childhood, crime. In the case of today’s post, it came from other poetry!

poetryfridaybutton-fulllA few weeks ago, I had been reading some poetry by a published poet whose identity shall remain hidden. I read two or three poems by this person – who, although he/she only has a couple of books out,  is quite critically acclaimed – and I couldn’t understand anything that was being said. Have you ever read poetry like that? Where every word or phrase seems utterly random and nothing makes sense?

Well, that’s exactly what I was reading…or so I thought. It took me a few days, but eventually some of the imagery and associations started to become a little clearer to me. And as I thought about this change of perspective, it occurred to me I might have the germ of a poem in my hands.

Turns out, I did!

Hope you enjoy it – and aren’t as confounded as I was when I read that other poem! To hear me read the poem, just click that giant head below…snd to see all of today’s Poetry Friday happenings, be sure to visit Katya at Write. Sketch. Repeat. for the complete roundup!

Things Worth Saying

I once read a poem about the moonlight
eating a hole
in the writers’ conscience
while violins played a jig
or a dirge
or something.
I recall thinking
the poem meant nothing
and would never have been written
had the poet felt an urge
deep inside
compelling him to do so;
otherwise, I could have understood his connections, emotions,
associative leaps.

As it was, these were words
on a page, confounding
only to the most erudite
in academia
not because of the sheer beauty
of words
or funereal longing
but because of some sort of
perplexing, esoteric
ambiguity
I was not privy to.

Setting the book down,
I ventured outside
to clear my head of alliteration
and assonance
and incongruence
and sat on the old rocking chair on the back porch.
Staring at a clovis moon sky,
I wondered about that poem
and its poet.
I wondered why
he wrote those words,
why he bothered.
I wondered if anyone
would ever know
what he was trying to say.

I remained there in solitude
for at least an hour
or more
or less,
pondering
the poet’s wasted thoughts.
Then the moon, round
and empty,
consumed me with its hollowness
as I listened
to the last few crickets of the season
playing for anyone
willing to hear.

- © 2014, Matt Forrest Esenwine

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13 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: “Things Worth Saying”

  1. Pingback: Kenning Poetry | Write. Sketch. Repeat. — Katya Czaja

  2. I like that you reflected with your own poem, Matt. Perhaps the poet’s urge was to do that, to push thought? And that poem did push you to contemplate the moon, always a good thing. I chuckled over “to clear my head of alliteration/and assonance/and incongruence.”

    • Good poetry makes one think – and the one I read certainly did that. Of course, with my poem, I took ‘poetic license’ in describing the other poem – I really wasn’t as confounded or as sarcastic as I make myself seem in my poem – but I wanted to get the point across that there is truth in everything, especially in the things we don’t understand.

  3. haitiruth on said:

    I like it. This reminded me a little of Whitman – http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/174747. But I like your ending better — less obvious than Whitman. :-)

  4. Love the idea of your clearing your head of poetry to write poetry! Who knows where inspiration will spark or lead.

  5. What valuable ruminations. Makes me wonder if there is truly such a thing as ‘wasted thought.’ There are deeper understandings perhaps that go beyond the erudite or the academic as you pointed out, and how essentially things do not have to make sense for them to have meaning. :)

  6. maryleehahn on said:

    Poetry in response to poetry. That has a nice symmetry.

  7. Your post reminded me of something Ted Kooser wrote in THE POETRY HOME REPAIR MANUAL: “Some [poets] go out of their way to make their poems difficult if not downright discouraging. That may be because difficult poems are what they think they’re expected to write to advance their careers.” Obviously, I have no idea if that was the case here, but I was right by your side with the moon and the crickets, Matt.

    • Thanks, Michelle. I do share his sentiments – many poems I read are just so confounding I wonder if they were meant to make sense at all. But in this particular case, I wanted to show that the imagery the poet had presented was not only true, but had come full-circle to me – even though I remained oblivious to it.

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