BEING A POET

I have often felt blessed at being a poet.

Poems are such a wonderful vehicle for getting across feelings and emotions.
In my poetry I feel emboldened to speak of that which I would be reticent to speak of in regular conversation or communication.

This reticence I think is in particular, relevant to men. Rightly or wrongly we are somewhat conditioned to cover, if not hide our emotions….and yet those emotions do exist, just as strongly as the emotions felt by women…..they are just less easily admitted to.

I remember a very large man, I think he could have bench pressed the entire room, sitting with tears welling in his eyes as he listened to my poem ‘16’. He had a teenage daughter as well, and all his physical strength could not mask the strength of his inner emotions.

What would I call a good poem and do I consider myself to be a good poet? I have been asked that question on many occasions and it is really a difficult question to answer. If you answer the question as to whether or not you are a good poet, with a too aggressive ‘yes’ the questioner will immediately begin looking for words that rhyme with ‘arrogant’ or ‘jerk’.

The answer however is really quite simple…at least it is to me. It is a good poem, or the poet is a good poet, if the message is clear and true. Just like in advertising….it’s message, message, message….truth, truth, truth.

Too many poets make their poems almost impossible to understand, with the distinct intentions I feel, of making themselves seem wiser than the reader…..I think it just makes them bad poets, and their poems are best placed as carpeting on the floor of a birdcage.

Simplicity in poetry can be a wonderful thing. On my next CD, I intend to include some of my shortest poems, that are also amongst my favorites and I offer you a wee preview.

We don’t always feel filled with confidence and self satisfaction. For me, it must have been one of those moments, because in the 80’s I wrote:

In all the world what I would give
To be the man I thought I’d be
But I am what I am
No better, no worse
No point to my life
No point to this verse.

Age of course is such a relative thing, being quite different when viewed from the vantage points of years.

When you are young
A lifetime is eternity
When you’re not
It’s reality.

I am also asked frequently where my poems come from.
Of course they come from emotions, concerns, sadness and joy….but they also very often come from a simple line or phrase that seems to pull other words to it as though they had waited an eternity to meet.

Politically having become aggressively moderate over the years, and somewhat mistrusting and skeptical of the far or radical left and the far or radical right. Just the other day, this line came to me:

Liberalism is far too important,
To be left in the hands of the left.

I expect you have seen the genesis of a poem that will be heard on the next “Rhymeman’ CD.

Poetry and advertising. Different of course, but similar in the fact that for either to be good and to be valid, they both must contain a message….and that message must be clear….and that message must be true.

Barrie Bailey