Poetry is to Me as Metal is to Microwaves

AAAAAAHHH!  THUNK!  No, no, no, don’t get the wrong idea, the [insert feared cultural group here, such as communists, extremists, Kennel Club Members, etc.] aren’t attacking.  The cause for alarm is poetry (the THUNK! is not me running away into an inanimate object but rather me being knocked senseless with a binder by an annoyed classmate; this is high school, remember).

You see, I was recently informed by my English teacher that we are about to start a unit on poetry.  Not a one-, not a two-, not a two-and-a-day-, but a three-, yes, that’s right, THREE-week unit on poetry.  Goodbye, sanity.

The problem isn’t a dislike of poetry.  No, I like poetry, don’t get me wrong.  Reading good poetry is not the pure torture in itself.  The torture comes when we are asked to analyze or to, heaven forbid, write poetry.

I wish I could go back in time.  Then I could track down Robert Frost, stick a tape-recorder in his face (what if I am still living in the 90’s? Got a problem?), and ask him, “Mr. Frost, are you aware that your writing will cause terror and distress among future generations?  Do you realize you could save them this distress by including notes on each poem to the exact nature of your metaphors so there is no question what you meant?  Do you want to be analyzed for years to come, or left to rest in peace?”

Okay, so I should clear up a few things in the above paragraph.  Firstly, to those who objected to my choosing Frost instead of a better poet, that just shows how little I know about poetry in general.  I also understand that the interpretation of metaphors is one of the things that makes poetry enjoyable and worthwhile, so I am not metaphor-abolitionist.  But, amazing, culturally refined, and talented reader, cut me some slack.  When’s the last time you did a poetry analysis?

Anyways, going on with my fear-driven writing.  The worst part about poetry units is the writing of poetry.  I would love writing poetry if I was good at it, but I don’t feel that I am.  I can write with a rhyme scheme, but without the rhyming you would mistake any of my poems for the product of that monkey-on-a-typewriter experiment.

(You know, the one with the idea that if you put enough monkeys on typewriters and gave them enough time that they would eventually produce Shakespeare.  Also, since typewriters aren’t used anymore, I wonder if there is currently a debate in the works somewhere, on whether the new experiment should be titled monkey-on-a-PC or monkey-on-a-Mac.  Or maybe “iMonkey, and Windows Seven was its idea”. Wow, a whole paragraph in parentheses.  That’s a new record.  Sorry, I’ll get back to poetry now.).

See, I completely understand that poetry must be more than words on a page.  We even did an exercise drawing analogies of poetry in class, comparing poetry to many abstract items.  About halfway through my poems, you’d be thinking ‘wow, this kid can write’.  Then you’d continue reading.

Somehow, I can only manage to make about one third of any of my attempted poems symbolic and full of metaphors.  Basically, imagine you are swimming in a sea of metaphors.  My poem takes you underwater (metaphorically), deep below the surface, and you see multiple exotic fish (also metaphors).  But then disaster strikes.

My metaphor valve in my brain is shut off, but you’re still underwater.  Suddenly, the water turns to rock; the fish to skeletons, and you are trapped, struggling through the ending.  You manage to claw your way to the surface, yet doing so is excruciating.  That sums up one of my poems.

There is the other type of my poems, as well.  These are the ones that start shallow, and eventually fill with metaphors.  They are the opposite of the other kind; you start on rock, then you are dragged underwater by a shark (another metaphorical being), are thrashed about, and then are eventually drowned in an unbalanced excess of metaphorical meaning.

I suppose that I should put a ‘Warning: Don’t read if you use a pacemaker’ at the beginning of each of my poems, but that ruins what little meaning is left.  Actually, looking back at what I’ve just written, it appears fairly deep; I think I’ll go write a poem about the failure of my ability to write poetry.

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Comments

  1. iMonkey phone app! Very clever…

  2. Hmm… very nice concept.. keep it up!!

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