Day 19 of the Zero to Hero blog Improvement Challenge had us publish a post in a different format. I hate these types of challenges, being as I am very resistant to change. My audience expects a certain type of post from me. Why should I confuse them with something different and unexpected? I didn’t want to do it, but a challenge is a challenge, one I wanted to be done with as soon as could be. I posted a poem that had been stored online since 2008. Copy. Paste. Post. Project 19 completed!
I was free to more on to more enjoyable quests. There are dragons to be slain in Skyrim.
Now on Day 21 one I am required to blog about Day 19’s post! What! Me expound on poetry!?
A poem is something you will rarely find posted on my blog.
Poetry frustrates me.
To me, a poem on my blog is a wasted post. No one will read it, No one will like it. No one will comment on it. People will unfollow me in droves. Soon, I’ll be the only one left reading my blog… and maybe, perhaps of my mother.
“Stupid Zero to Hero. More like Hero to Zero! Why did I even bother to join it? They have no idea what they are doing. They’re clueless. I bet they never even bother to read this! Mumble Grumble Mutter Sputter!” (I complain a lot in my head when dealing with change.)
But… when I am wrong, I can admit it.
I was wrong.
Within moments of posting my poem, my phone started chiming Word Press alerts. I was surprised to learn that these alerts were not for likes or comments, rather, within the first ten minutes of my poem going online my blog had three new followers. (I may have to occasionally branch out into fashion posts, or a dating blog after this.)
Maybe Zero to Hero are not so clueless after all. Changing things up on occasion can be a good thing.(Though they probably still aren’t reading this.)
Why do I disdain poetry so? It makes me feel stupid, like when I read Norwegian. I can read the words, sound them out loud, read them with an interesting tempo, but I still have no idea what any of it means.
It’s been this way since high school. English teachers would look at me dumbfounded as I ‘d attempt to answer a question regarding whatever poem we happened to be studying in class that day. “Brad? How can you not get this? You of all people!” This coming from the teacher who would read some of my descriptive essays to the class, essays that would garner responses like: you write with the heart of a poet, that was so poetic, you should write poetry! Hearing a teacher who was one day excited about my prose yet befuddled at my ineptitude with poetry the next, left me feeling stupid.
Sure, I could write poetically. It was easy. I knew what I was writing about. I knew what I was trying to describe, I knew the feelings I hoped to convey. To me it was as simple as using English to express those thoughts. It made sense.
When I read someone else’s poem, yes, I enjoy the figurative language, yes I love the way the words fit together, yes, I’m amazed how it can sound when read aloud, yet I have no idea what the author means. It’s just the same reading Norwegian.
People tell me a poem is art. It can mean whatever I want it to mean to me. That always felt like a cop-out on part of the poet. How dare I be cheated? First, I had to read a poem, then I had to come up with my own meaning for it? Imagine my own story behind it? What a rip-off! If all that mental work is required of me every time I read a poem, why don’t I just cut out the middle-man and write my own stories? It least I’ll understand it.
I once came across two notebooks discarded in a gravel pit, both were filled with hand-written poems, a girl’s handwriting by the looks of it. I skimmed through the pages looking for a name, but none was to be found. I read the first poem; about a missing love, separated by distance and a failure of batteries to sate the need for reunion. At the time the poem made no sense to me and left me scratching my head in confusion. So I tossed the notebooks next to the mud pile where I found them and walked away, abandoning her words to the elements, to fend for themselves. I regret doing so now, because the funny thing is, that one poem, read, while standing in a deserted gravel pit over thirty years ago has stuck in my head ever since and I think I may finally understand what the unknown poet was trying to express through her words.
Still, poetry frustrates me. Thirty years is too long to figure out a poem.
I have no ill-will towards anyone who enjoys poetry. I hold no scorn for anyone who expresses themselves through verse. I will forever encourage you to be the best poet you can be. Hone your skills. In fact I do follow a number of Poetry blogs in my reader. But to be honest, I still understand very little of what I read.
Yet, I will keep reading.
Who knows, maybe someday it will all start making sense to me…
Right after the day I wake up speaking Norwegian.
(And as an apology to those of you who came to be reading this post after Googling “Norwegian Poetry”, I’m sorry, yes it was a marketing ploy. Still, you can follow my blog, Just click the follow button below. You never know, I could start publishing poems in Norwegian at any time.)