I don’t get poetry. That’s what I like to say when people ask me if I write poems. I don’t get it. Sometimes they don’t even rhyme. What’s up with THAT?
Not that I haven’t tried to write poetry. I’ve had a go.
Richard poems followed two strict rules: They always rhymed and always had. a. fixed. beat. to them. Here’s a horrible example:
Richard poems have a beat.
Insert something about feet.
… Yeah. I know.
Whenever I read a poem to someone, it was usually greeted with a forced smile and a quick change of subject.
I’m happy to say times have changed, though. I’m now the proud owner of not one, but three poetry books. It’s a big step for me as a reader. I used to shun poetry like cats shun my loving embraces.
I will admit, I bought one of the poetry books by accident. It had a cool picture of a goblin on the front and was on sale.
It all began, as many things did, with ‘Brexit’. Or perhaps it was the election of Donald Trump. I don’t really know. One of them. They’ve both joined together into a big horrible blob in my mind.
I’ve never really been one for politics and I picked a really, really poor year to start getting emotionally involved in them. Waking up to both of those results hit me hard. A lot harder than I ever expected a political result would, to be honest.
I felt like the world was trying to tear itself apart. The bad guys kept winning. I couldn’t figure out why it was happening. I couldn’t figure out why people wanted to run away from each other, to hate each other, to reject everything that I thought was good in the world. It was like the government (both Britain and USA) thought I was wrong for falling in love with a foreigner.
There is a quiet gasp from the audience.
Then, while reading tweet after horrifying tweet on Twitter, getting deeper and deeper into a dark and twisted world of racism and hate and losing all faith, I stumbled across the poem ‘Allowables,’ by Nikki Giovanni.
I killed a spider
Not a murderous brown recluse
Nor even a black widow
And if the truth were told this
Was only a small
Sort of papery spider
Who should have run
When I picked up the book
But she didn’t
And she scared me
And I smashed her
I don’t think
To kill something
Because I am
I read that poem and it made me feel… Well, I don’t really need to finish that sentence. It made me feel something, while other poems just left me confused and annoyed. It spoke to a quiet part inside me that I had never really noticed before and the quiet part spoke back. It pointed out a little finger and said: “Yeah, that.”
Straight away, I went and bought Nikki Giovanni’s latest poetry book, Chasing Utopia.
You know what’s really weird? I’m enjoying it. I’m really excited to read it. Every poem reveals a little bit more and I suspect when I finish it, I might read it all again.
Poetry isn’t that bad.
In fact, I think I’m starting to like it.