There are certain things that are wasted on the young.
I remember being a teenager, sitting in various English classes every year, trying my best to get the meaning behind some poem and having neither the time nor the patience to understand it.
The words and their meaning went over my head. They failed to connect. I found the whole exercise boring and couldn’t wait to move onto a new topic. Oh I remember one year memorizing the words to “The cremation of Sam McGee,” a poem about a prospector who freezes to death near Lake Laberge, Yukon, Canada.
“Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows. Why he left his home in the South to roam ‘round the Pole, God only knows. He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell; though he’d often say in his homely way that ‘he’d sooner live in hell.’”
But for the most part, I didn’t really care much for the poems we read. I was just never a poetry fan. I’m finding, however, that there might be hope for me yet.
I stumbled across a few poems recently and rather than getting caught up on whether the rhyming structure worked or whether it was a couplet or falling meter, or anything else for that matter, I’ve simply took them in. For example, when W.H. Auden writes about a deceased love in “Funeral Blues,” I couldn’t help but feel his excruciating pain and loss.
He was my North, my South, my East and West, my working week and my Sunday rest, my noon, my midnight, my talk, my song; I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong. The stars are not wanted now; put out every one, pack up the moon and dismantle the sun, pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood; for nothing now can ever come to any good.
Likewise, I stumbled across the Beatles song “I will” and my first thought when I heard Paul McCartney sing the words was that I hope Kathy knows that I love her with all my heart.
For if I ever saw you, I didn’t catch your name, but it never really mattered, I will always feel the same. Love you forever and forever, love you with all my heart, love you whenever we’re together, love you when we’re apart.
My newfound interest in poems has gotten me thinking about other things that I never gave a fair consideration and were wasted on me in my youth. I’ve started to make a list:
–Fruits and vegetables. (I can’t get enough of them now. Okay, that should read some vegetables. I know it’s all the rage, but I still haven’t developed a taste for kale or cauliflower.)
–Music besides just pop or rock.
–Different points of view.
–Fast cars. (No, I’ve always loved fast sports cars. I just like them even more now.)
I’ll never be a great aficionado of poetry. I simply don’t have the patience or desire, but hopefully I’ve matured and can find enjoyment and understanding when I come across a poem or verse in the future.