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Poetry … too obscure for today?


Maybe it’s just me … but does anyone read poetry anymore? I must admit that I never or rarely do. In our world of tweeting, blogging, texting, etc., who has time for something as surreal as poetry? I don’t even remember more than a mention here or there about the subject in school. Aside from Edgar Allen Poe, whose content I especially disliked, but vividly remember, unfortunately. I certainly don’t remember a very thorough study on the matter.

My son is unusual with his bedtime story requests … never fiction … never contemporary. He loves history and is always requesting historical accounts, generally of wars … kid friendly accounts I might add. Last night was one of those requests.

While reading, again, through the specifics of the French and Indian War and then on to the Revolutionary War … there was a casual mention of a phrase I think we all know … but perhaps do not remember its origination. The phrase was, “The shot heard round the world.”

Honestly, my memory of its origins was of the Iraq war … something to do with, “shock and awe.” Like I said, I must not have been paying attention during that class!

The historical account was detailing poetry of the era. Specifically Ralph Waldo Emerson and his poem, “Concord,” and how these poetical accounts helped preserve history for generations to come.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote this poem, which was sung as a hymn at a July 4, 1837 ceremony to mark the completion of the Concord Monument, to immortalize the resistance of American Minutemen to British forces on April 19, 1775.

While contemplating poetry, snippets of memories came back to me while my son was fading off to sleep. I remember my Dad being able to recite whole poems, obscure, at least to me, some 40 years after high school. Poems about trees and baseball players.

I also remember my Great Grandmother Flossie. How could I ever forget for it was I who transcribed over 200 of her handwritten poems and bound them for posterity? Her poems were full of rhythm, symbolism and beautiful, descriptive imagery. Reading her poetry was like visiting with the nearly 98-year-old woman who had lived through so much in her day.

Poetry is an art form in which human language is used to convey beauty, meaning, and emotion. Poetry, at its very essence, is much like … music. The interactive layering of all the sensatory applications and approaches creates an experience for the listener that will hopefully stay with them for a lifetime.

I’m one who loves to preserve beauty, preserve history, preserve lessons learned today for our future generations. Clearly, poetry is something I’ve overlooked and forgotten in the busyness of today.

Who is your favorite poet? William Shakespeare, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (one of my favorites), Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost … Edgar Allan Poe? Indulge and remember. Better yet … write some of your own! Here is a great resource for American poetry: .

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