1. Poetry for the many or the masses would be the following:

    Roses are red
    Violets are blue
    Sugar is Sweet
    And so are you

    This is familiar ground for most. It rhymes, it’s easy and requires little thought. But there is much more to poetry than meets the cliche eye or, should I say, ear.

    If you are a trained poet, you learn that rhyme often forces meaning or in an attempt to rhyme one is taken down a more obvious road or one that can even take the writer off the original road down more predictable or expected paths.

    But poetry should not be predictable. It should divert from the expected. It should surprise. It should stimulate imagination and wonder. Poetry fills our lives by explaining the mundane, the everyday in new and exciting ways that fill us with awe. With that in mind, I send you to the world of the great poet Russell Edson. This one is called "The Toy Maker":

    A toy-maker made a toy wife and a toy child.
    He made a toy house and some toy years.
    He made a getting-old toy, and he made a dying toy.
    The toy-maker made a toy heaven and a toy god.
    But, best of all, he liked making toy shit.

    Or how about "The Angel":

    They have little use. They are best as objects of torment.
    No government cares what you do with them

    Like birds, and yet so human . . .

    They mate by briefly looking at the other.

    Their eggs are like white jellybeans.

    Sometimes they have been said to inspire a man
    to do more with his life than he might have.
    But what is there for a man to do with his life?

    . . . They burn beautifully with a blue flame.

    Then they cry out it is like the screech of a tiny hinge;
    the cry of a bat. No one hears it . . .

    Note the originality, the passion, the taking of the expected and twisting to create the new. 

    Next I’d like to introduce the reader to the Pulitzer Prize winner, Charles Simic. This one’s called "Clouds Gathering." Note the detailed prose-like description as well as the awe inspiring wonder, the gaping hole of the warm womb of the universe he allows us to step into. Wonder and awe invoked.

    It seemed the kind of life we wanted.
    Wild strawberries and cream in the morning.
    Sunlight in every room.
    The two of us walking by the sea naked.

    Some evenings, however, we found ourselves
    Unsure of what comes next.
    Like tragic actors in a theater on fire,
    With birds circling over our heads,
    The dark pines strangely still,
    Each rock we stepped on bloodied by the sunset.

    We were back on our terrace sipping wine.
    Why always this hint of an unhappy ending?
    Clouds of almost human appearance
    Gathering on the horizon, but the rest lovely
    With the air so mild and the sea untroubled.

    The night suddenly upon us, a starless night.
    You lighting a candle, carrying it naked
    Into our bedroom and blowing it out quickly.
    The dark pines and grasses strangely still.

    The ending in awe. The ending incomplete. The mystery. For goodness sake, Mr. Simic, what next?! It’s poetry but prose as well, Hemingway in the mix. Notice how both poems take the mundane, the examined and present it unique. The language, the images created are only those Edson and Simic provide. No clichés here. No expanding on the roses are red theme, pounding the reader with the dull, the expected. Hell, our lives are full of that, why require it of our poetry? Let’s take a look at a few more before we retire.

    Here’s another prize winner, Nobel Laureate Wislawa Szymborska. Here’s one with a twist, the unexpected filling holes with ethereal ooooos and awwws in our gaping, desperate to be filled heads, hearts, and souls. Here’s one called "A ‘Thank You’ Note."


    There is much I owe
    to those I do not love.

    The relief in accepting
    they are closer to another.

    Joy that I am not
    the wolf to their sheep.

    My peace be with them
    for with them I am free,
    and this, love can neither give,
    nor know how to take.

    I don’t wait for them
    from window to door.
    Almost as patient
    as a sun dial,
    I understand
    what love does not understand.
    I forgive
    what love would never have forgiven.

    Between rendezvous and letter
    no eternity passes,
    only a few days or weeks.

    My trips with them always turn out well.
    Concerts are heard.
    Cathedrals are toured.
    Landscapes are distinct.

    And when seven rivers and mountains
    come between us,
    they are rivers and mountains
    well known from any map.

    It is thanks to them
    that I live in three dimensions,
    in a non-lyrical and non-rhetorical space,
    with a shifting, thus real, horizon.

    They don’t even know
    how much they carry in their empty hands.

    "I don’t owe them anything",
    love would have said
    on this open topic.

    Note the line breaks, where the line-end emphasis comes within the stanza and at their ends to enhance and create meaning.

    I understand (boom, emphasis here)
    what love does not understand.
    I forgive
    (boom, emphasis here)
    what love would never have forgiven.

    Note with all this poetry that there is something of the unfamiliar. Note how it expresses in the unique. Note how it not only attempts but goes beyond what exists. It is not cliché. It is not complex. It is not mundane. It is even simple expressing the profound. Language expanding and deepening as the words build, word upon simple word.

    One more for the reader and then we are done: "Body Builder’s Contest" by Wislawa Szymborska.


    From scalp to sole, all muscles in slow motion.
    The ocean of his torso drips with lotion.
    The king of all is he who preens and wrestles
    with sinews twisted into monstrous pretzels.

    Onstage, he grapples with a grizzly bear
    the deadlier for not really being there.
    Three unseen panthers are in turn laid low,
    each with one smoothly choreographed blow.

    He grunts while showing his poses and paces.
    His back alone has twenty different faces.
    The mammoth fist he raises as he wins
    is tribute to the force of vitamins.

    Work the words. Work the combinations. Work the starts and stops. Build the passion. Build your hops. Like anything worth its salt it takes time and effort to build. Get the lazies out if you want to touch the masses. Stretch into and through the intuitive. Let the child in you ask, "When I die will I dream of dinosaurs?" Wonder if puddles are prisons and for the average sentence of each drop. Spend time outside the given and the existing to ponder and play. Let your child rise in simplicity to wonder and wander today. Love words enough to turn every reader’s stomach into a 24/7 oven baked wonder wall of mother charmed hugs. Let the child in you put all doubt and worry on hold, if not just for a day. Write on brothers and sisters, write on today.

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