Poem for Poetry Month

Oyster shell and books of poetry

As the Oyster Forms the Pearl

As the oyster forms the pearl,
So the poet pens the verse
As balm for the current ache
Born out of the ancient curse.

As the oyster feels compelled
To shellac the sandy grain,
So the poet feels the urge
To transmogrify the pain.

So the pearl grows rich and round
As its luster covers the sand.
So the verse unseen takes form
In its way, designed unplanned.

Sad the pearl that lies unseen
In the depths of the murky sea.
Sad the verse that dies unheard
In the heart clandestinely.

So the diver frees the pearl,
Breaks the stony shell apart.
So the poet frees the verse
Ripped out of his broken heart.

(2015)


What could be more appropriate for Poetry Month than a poem about writing poetry?

Just this morning I reread Robert Frost’s “Mowing,” which I believe to be one of his sneaky poems that seems, on the surface, seems to be a simple description of the everyday task of a farmer, but on another level is an exploration of writing poems.

Frost is subtle, but I think I can make out him saying that for him poetry is not handed to him in dreams by fairies or elves. It’s hard work.

I almost see his rows of mown grass as lines of poetry left for others to figure out, “leaving hay to make.”

My little poem is not so subtle.

Published by

Bobby Ball

I love poetry. But I'm picky. No one pays me to read and write poems. It's more of a labor of love. I guess that puts me in good company. This is a project to discover why some poems strike you deep, deep down, while others leave you cold. I've got some ideas, and I'm eager to learn. I'll show you some of mine. Maybe we'll learn something new.

2 thoughts on “Poem for Poetry Month”

  1. I wish I had used “subtle” when trying to define to students exactly what words are needed to define poetry. I think I spent too much time emphasizing compactness while poo-pooing–how’s that for a word not found in Strunk and White?–rhyme.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good to hear from you and know you’re surviving the lock down. Even though you may have poo-pooed rhyme, you did still introduce us to some pretty good rhymers. I recall you having kind words for E.A. Robinson. And I may never have stumbled across John Crowe Ransom if you hadn’t required us to pick a name from a list of poets and write a lengthy paper about our choice. He rhymed, but he was subtle. Just finding that one line: “Ten frozen parsnips hanging in the weather” was worth the price of admission!

      Like

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