Poetry and I have never really seen eye to eye. It’s not that I didn’t like it, but I thought it didn’t like me. Poet laureate W.S. Merwin says, “People say they don’t read poetry because they don’t understand it. But you don’t start by understanding it; you begin by physically responding to it. You’re hearing something. You’re moved.”
As with prose, I find I’m not moved by poetry that uses so much flowery imagery that I feel like I’m wading through a jar of honey. Or when every word is so thick with innuendo and double entendre that you can’t see your way through to the end. Or when it’s so completely depressing you want to off yourself. But recently a friend has introduced me to some poets who write about everyday experiences and remind me about the beauty in those things.
So during April, I thought I’d spread a bit of poetry love. Maybe some of these poems will speak to you as they do to me. Let’s kick things off with Merwin. You writers out there will enjoy this one.
Sitting over words
very late I have heard a kind of whispered sighing
like a night wind in pines or like the sea in the dark
the echo of everything that has ever
still spinning its one syllable
between the earth and silence