You could have knocked me over with a weak cliché: do you know that every two weeks or so the world experiences the demise of yet another active language. How many hundreds of years did people speak and write that fading language and now it is only available in books. If people stop using their traditional language, can we still call it a language? I guess so: look at Nahuatl and, of course, Latin which isn’t even used in the high church any more.
The aim of writing poetry is, for the most part …
- To make money,
- To expose the poet’s thinking and feeling,
- To allow the reader to share the poet’s experience,
- To impress chicks.
Well, if you said, “To make money” you are a true capitalist but somewhat of an idiot. Here’s what John Keating says about poetry in the film, Dead Poet’s Society:
We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?
The Snopes site which responds to rumors in an attempt to kill them before they go totally viral and infect the thinking of half the population just responded to this question:
Please check out this article about the discovery of tablets on Mars proving the existence of God. The same story is already on many other sites also being repeated as if it were true.
The response from Snopes was a clear FALSE but in today’s political climate you can expect the story to be further embellished and in six months it will be treated as the truth by a significant portion of the population, at least by those that desperately want to believe in the Judeo-Christian-Moslem god (there is only one god, remember). Furthermore, don’t be surprised when that protector of the American Way, Daryll Issa, opens an investigation demanding to know what information NASA is hiding from Congress and insisting that all intelligence, real or imagined, connected with this issue be turned over to his committee without further delay.
When I was studying literature many many years ago, I loved poetry. It was the sixties so William Blake was very popular (along with J. R. R. Tolkein) but my favorites were Alexander Pope, John Keats, and John Milton. You might wonder how a devout Atheist with tendencies toward anarchism and a penchant for bizarre fiction can even read John Milton, let alone declare that Milton is a favorite poet. To keep it simple: Milton is a great poet.
Even if I don’t exactly agree with his religious or political practices or even find that he was a nice guy: his poetry is great!
I was looking up something earlier and ran across a copy of Milton’s Lycidas. I read through it three times and each time became more and more aware of my life-long love of literature and a certain regret for all the aspirations I had in my early twenties that are now just a fading memory. You might have your Prufrock or your Howl, but for me it’s Lycidas. Remember how it goes …