Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Metra-Inspired Poetry

I'm currently taking a class called "Teaching Literature" and we're doing a unit on teaching poetry. This both fills me with dread and makes me very happy because I do not "get" poetry, and so I don't want to read it or study it, but I also know that I will someday have to teach poetry, and so I should learn to love it. Or at least gain a basic understanding so that I can teach it without making a fool of myself or teaching children incorrectly. Nothing worse than a bunch of teenagers who don't know how to write a proper haiku.

So, for this class, we're reading a book that is the faux journal of a faux poetry teacher. One of my assignments is to try out his assignments. So I did.

The assignment: Write a poem based on "Exercise in the Cemetery" by Jane Gentry

At dusk I walk up and down
among the rows of the dead.
What do the thoughts I think
have to do with another living being?
In the eastern sky, blue-green as a bird's egg,
a cloud with a neck like a goose
swims achingly toward the zenith.

First sentence should place you somewhere, the second sentence should ask a question and the third sentence should describe in images whatever you notice.

The only other time I've ever written poetry was during a particularly angst-y moment in my history. I think I was about thirteen and the resulting "poetry" is so humiliating, just thinking about it makes me want to run away and hide. However, I'm older and more mature now. I shouldn't ask students to do something that I wouldn't do. And, honestly, what is a blog for if not to completely humiliate yourself? And so... my poem. Written this morning and not yet revised.

Be kind.

Just as the sun gets going,
I read and ride the train towards Chicago
and my office.
Why is everyone else going?
The rhythm of the tracks
shift and shake the words.
They rattle on the page
like an old tea set on a platter
carried gingerly, careful not to spill.

Oh god. I think I'm dying. The shame. Seriously.

2 comments:

Mavis said...

not bad! Not that I'm an expert on poetry, but you can at least congratulate yourself on the fact that it doesn't rhyme. And take comfort in the fact that some of the most angsty, badly written poetry has been turned into some of the greatest cheesy pop ballads ever. Need I mention Journey? Okay, I will. Journey. That is nothing but angsty, cheesy poetry goodness set to music. And. I. Love It.

Rita said...

Dude. Journey is not cheesy. They have insight to my SOUL.