Monday, April 13, 2009

Do I Dare?


April is National Poetry Month. This year's poster is kind of subtle, mostly shades of gray, but interesting. It features a foggy wet surface with finger marks dragged through quoting T. S. Eliot: "Do I dare disturb the universe?" It is formidable to think that one's words have the power to alter the universe, but it's true. Just ask Shakespeare, Thomas Paine, Voltaire or Jane Austen. While I don't think anything I write is in the 'disturbing' and 'important' category, I hope to provide a few hours pleasure and release from everyday life.

(And that is a disturbing and important thought. For the book you spend months on---perhaps years---will be read in just a few hours. If writers got paid for the amount of time actually writing, we'd probably be getting invisible fractions of a penny per hour, LOL.)

As you know, I'm back in the risky business of taking a seriously fractured hero and taping him up together in Master of Sin. I need help with Italian (iGoogle!) and psychology. I've got to create a fictional Scottish island too, because my husband says we can't afford the "research" trip to the Outer Hebrides. Heck, I'd settle for the Inner Hebrides. :) But before I get too far into the book, I need to have my feet firmly planted in Andrew Rossiter's universe, where poetry is a luxury and "freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

Classical poetry may have fallen out of fashion, but many song lyrics speak to the poetic souls in all of us. Here is humble romance from Jamey Johnson's In Color:

This one is my favorite one---
This is me and grandma in the summer sun
All dressed up the day we said our vows.
You can’t tell it here but it was hot that June,
That rose was red and her eyes were blue.
And just look at that smile,I was so proud
That’s the story of my life---
Right there in black and white.
And if it looks like we were scared to death
Like a couple of kids just trying to save each other
You should have seen it in color.
A picture’s worth a thousand words,
But you can’t see what those shades of gray keep covered.
You should have seen it in color.
Go color your universe! Any lyrics/poems you'd like to post?
You will find poetry nowhere unless you bring some of it with you. ~Joseph Joubert

7 comments:

Stephanie J said...

Oddly enough I don't pursue reading classical poetry on my own and I never seem to remember lyrics of even my favorite songs but when presented with both I can appreciate their beauty. If I had to pick anything, I'd say I enjoy the poetry of several Newbery books that I own.

Good luck with that fictional island! :)

Elyssa Papa said...

I love poetry!!! One of my favorites is John Keats' Ode to a Nightingale, which I know off the top of my head and ends with these beautiful last lines:

Fled is that vision
Do I wake or dream?

And I know a lot of Irish poets because I took a course in college taught by an Irish poet where we had to memorize poems and perform them. I just remember one line with "the fecund possibility." A lot of W.B. Yeats and his long love for the woman M---??? and his Irish poetry.

And hey if Yeats can invent a place called Innisfree (sp.) and then Hollywood makes into a setting for The Quiet Man, then inventing a Scottish island is just as doable.

Janga said...

I love the Jamey johnson song, Maggie.

Emily Dickinson is my longest loved poet. This one seems appropriate for romance writers and readers

Nature rarer uses yellow
Than another hue;
Saves she all of that for sunsets,--
Prodigal of blue,

Spending scarlet like a woman,
Yellow she affords
Only scantly and selectly,
Like a lover's words.

Maggie Robinson said...

Janga, I love ED. So spare yet so beautiful every time. (But I was hoping you'd share your own work, greedy girl that I am!)

Steph, half the time I don't even understand the lyrics, a sure sign that I'm growing old. :) I still kick the poetry anthology that's at my feet under my desk to remind myself to read some every now and then.

Ely,I'm having a lot of fun getting geographic. Almost all my other settings are based upon places I've visited. And I'm listening to Gaelic speakers and Gaelic music, too---almost more fun than the writing, LOL.

Maggie Robinson said...

And I hope you're using your Irish poetry with your Irish rocker, Ely!

J.K. Coi said...

I love poetry. Angsty stuff. Pretty stuff. Classical and contemporary. :)

terrio said...

I forgot to hop over here yesterday and I tried to comment early and my comp locked up. Dang it.

I haven't spent much time with poetry though I always appreciate it when I do. There's something about how it forces you to think about greater things.

Lyrics are more my thing. So many to choose from but when I think of poetry, I think of Alison Krauss. This is one she wrote with Robert Plant called Please Read The Letter.

Once I stood beside a well of many words
My house is full of rings and
Charms and pretty birds
Please understand me, my
Walls came falling down
There's nothing here that's left for you
But check with lost and found