philosopher’s stone, a poem … and your Wednesday Writing Prompt

living in a redwood forest,
cradling the wild and rocky,
nursing cold creeks
and ancient sequoia

he’s balding and blue-eyed,
steps out in running shoes,
old blue jeans, a white
t-shirt smelling of bleach

he flies high with
wings woven of words,
alchemical words,
philosopher’s stone

© 2013, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; Photo credit ~ MorgueFile


WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

Write a poem about a poet, writer or artist you know. Capture their essence and, if you feel comfortable, share your work or a link to it in the comments below.  All are welcome, emerging or established. Prompt inspired poems will be featured here next Tuesday.


ABOUT THE POET BY DAY

“among small things yesterday” and other poems in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt


Here is the collection of responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, he’s a tumble weed, September 13. I’m quite pleased with the efforts of Renee Espiru, Paul Brookes, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Iulia Gherghi, Collin Blundell, and Kakali Das Gosh. Bravo, poets! Enjoy the reading, visit their blogs, and strike-up a friendships with other poets.

The next Wednesday Writing Prompt will post tomorrow.  All are welcome to come out and play, no matter where in the world you live or where you are in your career, emerging or established.


Rainbow Lace Muses

dreams are like the sweet smell
of ambrosia
not like
the bitter of coffee
before her

she sits by the restaurant window

staring at nothing

and seeing everything

perhaps she sees her life
without children
running about
demanding
time

time she doesn’t have and
does not have to give
for life should chord

space and quiet

life should be filled

with writing muses
laced with rainbows

filled with artist
paper

& tools for both
housed in a place

beneath
trees

sprinkled with star dust

a place with fields of
wild flowers so
she can commune

with nature
with her
soul

she is lost in her thoughts
as the restaurant
comes to life
around her

with the laughter of

children

playing

she is reminded that life
hinges on choices
of ambivalence

like her food
turning cold
it is only
new

within the essence
of the moment

© 2017, Renee Espriu  (Just Turtle Flight and Inspiration, Imagination & Creativity with Wings, Haibun, ART & Haiku)


Reminds

herself to use her legs when pulling out weeds so she don’t get pain in her back

aggravated by weight of cat litter bags she puts in her tartan shopping trolley

when she meets her friend Flora in town
to share a tuna salad homemade

by Sully the African refugee in the local cafe.

© 2017, Paul Brookes   (The Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration, History, Imagination)

Bairns Are Old Codgers

Before I get taken to play at my soft playcentre,
my one year granddaughter toddles with her zimmer frame.

Later we will take her to the memory cafe
where she’ll remember her past lives.

“Hard”, of before dawn and midnight hours:
A welder in the Clyde shipyard, 1942.

“Stinks that,” she says of the steel shavings, and Swarfega.
“Heavy”, of the hammer…

A kitchen servant in a big house.
“Hurts”, of calloused pestle and mortared deferment…

I’m all giddy at tumble down
slides, scramble nets and ballpools.

© 2017, Paul Brookes   (The Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration, History, Imagination)

Sausage

roll flaky pastry diagnostics.
Watch your stop motion self

on cafe CCTV dance on chessboard
squares black and white faux marbled

floor. Reflection in glass as check your hair over fresh baguettes or bottled citrus.

“Don’t You Want Me, Baby” pumped
over speakers amid oven beeps and bleeps.

Blow on Sausage roll for barefoot baby
strapped in pram for the ride of its life.

© 2017, Paul Brookes   (The Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration, History, Imagination)


..among the small things yesterday..

was a larger thing, not world news, happily,
not somethinhg to chew over.

amongst the colours, the gifts, the tiny cup,
cracked, collectable, among the people
at the friday club is friendship, a bigger
thing.

quarry cafe.

although many of us like smaller items,
we have grown to know that close friends
are a quite very big, important thing in a
life. small life.

© 2017, Sonia Benskin Mesher  (Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA and Sonja’s Drawings)


One pub too many

In my high school years
I was addicted to one pub
Every day around six p.m.
I would take the dog out
The dog was the pretext of course
The pub was across the park, nearby the lake
His owner was like a brother to me
His entire family was my family for awhile
Their harmony, their happiness
Were my refuge
I was safe there in that glass pub
Soon enough I became a student
New places to explore
The pub on the top of the National Theatre
The pub of the University of Architecture, this one was more a club
For playing cards, all sort of games
The pub of the Literature University
Placed underground, with black oiled walls
We divided fairly our time between those three
I would start my day with a coffee in the Literature’ pub
Puff my cigarette while studying faces
The smoke would burn my eyes
But in that quasi darkness no one would notice
Lucky strike, no filters or some Romanian stuff, equally strong
I would always forget my lighter
So asking for a light would start a friendship
Next, at noon
Me and my friends would visit the Architecture’s pub
There the students were taller
Handsomer, intriguing
Here we would take our lunch
Being a far more light full place
And in the evenings, when some money grew in our pockets
We would join the roof crowd
On the top of The National Theatre
Where crème de la crème would meet
One or two pints of beer would grant the effort
When broke or during the exams
The nearby pub will greet us at 3 a.m. in the morning
What else but a beer to fixate your knowledge
Or to provide a blissful sleep
I wasn’t picky
Whatever would come first
Very soon the school was over
Life stuck its teeth on us
Devoured by our duties and responsibilities
We can afford only fast food restaurants now
Just before movie starts
The animation movie, 3D
With its special glasses that cover an
Underground slumber

© 2017, Iulia Gherghei (Sky Under Construction)


when we look at another person

forgetting for the moment that they
might be looking at us in the same way –
all those behavioural manifestations –
do we not impute to them
a kind of completion settled composure
compounded of what we take to be
definite things – arrangements of thought
intellectual substructure of identity & feeling?

take anybody you imagine you know
however they might be in themselves
do you not see a certain settledness
of body & mind spirit & dalliance
towards the world? look how they move
with dignity or resolve or shuffle their feet
with an uncertainty they might overcome
suddenly with intention direction & purpose

and how do they see you
mirror of themselves hearing about them
arranging a Bruckner symphony
for a hundred recorder-players?
like the man in the roadside café
I’d never met before
and am never likely to meet again
told me he’d just done

it’s all a matter of gaze
and the content thereof

© 2017, Colin Blundell (Colin Blundell, All and Everything)


#O!The Cafe Owner#

O !the rural cafe owner
Let me enjoy the blinding heavenly light
The accompanied whistling winds
I-a tumbleweed has ushered
your cafe
To pleasure an eternal liquor ,beer or wine of love
Let me escape from the crustfallen life
A chain of of diurnal routine
Let me recline at the front porch of your tavern
Enjoying a dirge quiescence
Let me exempt from the bricks and mortar ,chimney bellflower and clamorous clarion
O ! the rural cafe owner
Let me fly away from the anguish intolerable
May it be just for few moments
But I would sip the red wine of the loveable apple
Forever …….

© 2017, Kakali Das Ghosh


ABOUT THE POET BY DAY

THE BeZINE 100TPC Prequel Edition, Vol. 3, Issue 12, Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

1901786_567349210045244_3055969219023926076_nSeptember 15, 2017


Fragments—
Reflecting on anger
a sort of Introduction


i

I am trying to write a social justice-sustainability-peace song. This is as far as I have gotten.

Where have all the flowers gone, since the election?
Where has the dialogue gone, now that we yell and scream?
You may say it’s social media, typing, and not raised voices,
But you know we’re all making some dissonant choices.

This divisiveness, it’s like some sort of infection,
All the medicine won’t do any good, not pill or cream,
You may say it’s someone else, spreading these angry voices,
But you know we’re all making these dissonant choices.

Take care of others now, it’s time to give a helping hand,
Find the empathy in your heart, spread it through the land,
Stand up for justice, peace, sustainability, while you can,
Find the common ground where all of us can stand…

ii

I am searching for interconnections and intersectionality between social justice, sustainability, and peace—how each affects the other. I don’t want to focus on the negative, but I do feel a need to say something that would get at the role of divisiveness and hate in our current anxieties and politics—not just in the November 2016 elections, not just between the camps, not just within the left. It is everywhere, infused with out morning hot drink.

iii

We must reach out our hands to each other. Yes, we can and should express our differences, speak our anger, listen to the anger of others. However, we cannot afford to weaponize that anger, to externalize it into missiles and nuclear warheads. Don’t let anger shoot, stab, run us over in an un-civil war of accusations and blame that wounds our souls. We cannot let this roiling rage keep us from joining together in common cause, which we all have—the need for peace, social justice, and environmentally-sustainable practices. We must use our real angers, somehow, as building tools, to join together to create more humane, just, sustainable, and peaceful structures in our world. We must harness the anger to make love, not war.

Even so, it will be an imperfect world.

But, if we find a way to work together, through our differences, it will be a better world, too.

iv

Audre Lorde had this to say, in her 1981 speech (later printed as an essay), The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism:

Every woman has a well-stocked arsenal of anger potentially useful against those oppressions, personal and institutional, which brought that anger into being. Focused with precision it can become a powerful source of energy serving progress and change. And when I speak of change, I do not mean a simple switch of positions or a temporary lessening of tensions, nor the ability to smile or feel good. I am speaking of a basic and radical alteration in those assumptions underlining our lives.

I have seen situations where white women hear a racist remark, resent what has been said, become filled with fury, and remain silent because they are afraid. That unexpressed anger lies within them like an undetonated device, usually to be hurled at the first woman of Color who talks about racism.

But anger expressed and translated into action in the service of our vision and our future is a liberating and strengthening act of clarification, for it is in the painful process of this translation that we identify who are our allies with whom we have grave differences, and who are our genuine enemies. 

Anger is loaded with information and energy. When I speak of women of Color, I do not only mean Black women. The woman of Color who is not Black and who charges me with rendering her invisible by assuming that her struggles with racism are identical with my own has something to tell me that I had better learn from, lest we both waste ourselves fighting the truths between us. If I participate, knowingly or otherwise, in my sister’s oppression and she calls me on it, to answer her anger with my own only blankets the substance of our exchange with reaction. It wastes energy. And yes, it is very difficult to stand still and to listen to another woman’s voice delineate an agony I do not share, or one to which I myself have contributed. 

Why has this passage come to mind? Besides the fact that it remains relevant about privilege, more than 35 years later, it also speaks to the in-fighting among people who want to change the world positively, who have shared goals in making change—activists, if you will. The need to share our “grave differences,” but at the same time to work together as allies to resist—and overcome—”our genuine enemies.”

Audre Lorde | Credit/Copyright: Dagmar Schultz

Audre Lorde
Photo: Dagmar Schultz

v

It seems to me that these are some of the tools and forces of our genuine enemies: greed, oppression, racism, ethnocentricity, genders-based bias, unfettered capitalism, and fascism. Also: war, famine, and destruction of resources. Also: hatred, division, rage. Also…

vi

Right now, my Facebook feed streams with angry posts between Clinton and Sanders supporters and third camp—fourth, fifth, sixth… camps—who attack both and each other, all arguing an election nearly a year old and few looking for ways to work together for the mid-term elections a little over a year away. People argue about the best way to resist, all the while they criticize and attack each other for not approaching a particular issue in the “correct” way.

What I don’t feel is a constructive analysis and dialogue emerging from this divisiveness. I don’t feel that the anger focuses on the genuine enemies. Instead, the angry posts shred our (potential) allies against those who would divide us on the way to grinding us up. At times, my paranoia rings its tocsin, suggesting that those who oppose positive, life-and-humanity affirming change—my genuine enemies—foment the pitched battles (especially those in social media). I feel that too many of us (yes, I would include myself) think we “understand” the problems we face, and that others “don’t get it.” We want to be correct. My way or the highway.

That path only leads to traffic jams.

vii

Lorde tells us, “Anger is loaded with information and energy.” Are we listening? I often bristle and respond with anger—I fire off a few well-aimed zingers, a few capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Or else, I turn away and don’t listen. I miss the opportunity to learn from the information in the anger.

I fight against the energy in the anger, draining us both, as I argue my point of righteousness. I don’t take in the energy in the “anger expressed” to help energize our (potential) alliance. I don’t look for ways to translate it “into action in the service of our vision and our future.”

Thus, by not listening and firing my “defensive” missiles, I miss opportunities for “a liberating and strengthening act of clarification.”

This is critical when listening across the social, racial, economic, regional, generational, religious, gendered, and so many other divides of the world. It is as critical when listening to the anger that appears ready to pull apart groups of people who want to make a positive difference. When we are torn apart from each other. Divided, we will fall.

Yet, to stand together, we will have to listen to each other, to engage in learning from each other, and to find ways to translate our anger, our pain, our fear for the future into “… the painful process” of this translation, so that we identify who are “our allies with whom we have grave differences,” and who are “our genuine enemies.”

viii

A storm hammers my brain—this tide of attacks without engaged dialogue hammers my brain—my brain hammers against the ways in which I fail to do all of the many right things that need doing. And in my frustration, I forget to try to do just some of those many right things as well as I can—even if not to the level of an ideal and perfect world.

And here is where I end up, stalled, frustrated, angry. But where I want to end up is caring for humanity with empathy at the intersections of social justice, sustainability, and peace. The writing, music, and photographs in this issue have at their heart, I believe, empathic caring for all of our fellow humans. This caring motivates the work you will find ahead. Yes, you will feel anger. Yes, you will hear anguish. But all of it comes from hearts full of a desire to create “liberating and strengthening act[s] of clarification.”

—Michael Dickel, Contributing Editor


100TPC PREQUEL ISSUE: PEACE, SUSTAINABILITY, SOCIAL JUSTICE

How to read this issue of THE BeZINE:

Click HERE to read the entire magazine by scrolling, or
You can read each piece individually by clicking the links in the Table of Contents.
To learn more about our guests contributors, please link HERE.
To learn more about our core team members, please link HERE.


Table of Contents

Poetry

Honeymoon’s Over, John Anstie
Refugee blues, W. H. Auden
The Hands Off, Paul Brookes
Prisoner, Paul Brookes
The Stricken, Paul Brookes
Three men,  Rob Cullen
Measuring the Weight of Clouds, Rob Cullen
I Didn’t Apologize to the Well, Mahmoud Darwish
gods of our making, Jamie Dedes
let us now praise the peace, Jamie Dedes
do not make war, Jamie Dedes
Pigeon dreams,  Jamie Dedes
Visions Then and Now / Again, Michael Dickel
Come on up folks,  Michael Dickel
High Technology Death, Michael Dickel
the game of war,  Iulia Gherghei
Peace in the Desert,  Joseph Hesch
genome for survival, Charles W Martin
:: submarine ::, Sonja Benskin Mesher
:: reimagine the world ::, Sonja Benskin Mesher
:: the burning ::, Sonja Benskin Mesher
Building Freedom, Carolyn O’Connell
Another Note in an Endless Melody, Phillip T. Stephens
the places between, Reuben Woolley
virginia’s move, Reuben Woolley
knucklebone excess, Reuben Woolley

Musings

Eclipsed, Naomi Baltuck
~ Gen X Musings ~, Corina Ravenscraft

Music

Waiting on the World to Change, John Clayton
Musical Interlude for Change, The Young Bloods and Dionne Warwick and Burt Bacharach


Except where otherwise noted,
ALL works in The BeZine ©2017 by the author / creator


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“A Local Habitation and a Name” — Poetry, Memory, and Biography by James R. Cowles

Prof. Molly Worthen’s recent reflection on the paucity of emphasis on memorizing poetry resonated with me very strongly, though for reasons she did not account for in her recent op-ed piece in the New York Times. Based on my own experience spanning an academic lifetime, I would suggest a different approach that could render memorizing poetry more relevant and even more pleasurable. My methodology is very simple and straightforward to describe and, perhaps for that reason, quite effective:  instead of emphasizing rote memorization of poetry, instill a love of the text itself. Learn to love Hamlet, love it to the point that you read it over and over again during a lifetime, and memorizing the great soliloquy will most likely take care of itself. Above all, learn to reflect on your life experience within the enclosing context of literature.  Herewith some personal examples, which include both poetry and prose.

The first time I can remember that a literary text revolutionized my life was when, in 8th-grade AP English in the early 60s, Mr. Gordon Morse, teaching English at Horace Man Intermediate School in Wichita, KS, where I grew up, one day handed out to his class mimeographed copies of Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s great poem “Ulysses”.  I have written of this elsewhere. I had always had, even at that callow age, a restlessness, an intellectual wanderlust. (I think that my one signal achievement in the American educational system, in fact, is that I managed to emerge from junior-high school with my capacity for gratuitous passionate curiosity intact. Many are not so fortunate.) Thanks to Tennyson’s “Ulysses”, I realized that I was not alone. A poet writing in Victorian England was writing about me. I remember cloistering myself in my bedroom that night and skipping dinner … just to read that poem over and over again. (To this day, those few occasions when I smell mimeograph fluid always evoke memories of Tennyson’s “Ulysses”.) Now I can recite it by heart, not because I sat down and deliberately memorized it, but because awakened passion did what a brute determination to memorize could not.

In my twenties and into my early thirties, I was subject to periods of dangerously black clinical depression and abject panic attacks. That I am no longer thus tormented I credit to being married to a woman who is uniquely proficient at just putting up with me. But it was not always thus.  During that grim time, I would turn … yes … to Hamlet’s soliloquy and escape possible suicide by remembering  Hamlet’s haunting question about “what dreams may come, when we have shuffled off this mortal coil must give us pause”.  I continued living precisely because I was more disposed to “bear those ills [I] have than fly to others [I] know not of”.  I also read multiple dozens of times Albert Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus in my first undergraduate philosophy course at Wichita State University, and can still recite from memory the opening paragraph about suicide being the “only truly serious philosophical problem”, and why ancillary questions are just “games”. I do not know when I realized these texts were so intimate a part of me. As with “Ulysses,” I just “woke up” one day and realized they were. Over time, in both cases and in both cases because those texts had become so “existentially” important to me, I had memorized the text without consciously realizing it or intending to.

The crisis was intensified, in fact, nearly rendered hopeless, when I discovered T. S. Eliot’s pre-1929 poetry, e.g., “Hollow Men” and, of course, The Wasteland. Both were, on vastly different scales – “Hollow Men” on the level of individuals; The Wasteland on the level of the whole of western culture – autobiographical in the sense of being descriptions of my own self-perception during this period, i.e., when I was an undergraduate and early in my grad-student years.  We are the hollow men, / We are the stuffed men, / Leaning together, / Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!  … Thanks to The Wasteland, I also understood intuitively and from the inside the vapidity of Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyante … the wisest woman in Europe, but behind  whom stands only A heap of broken images, where the sun beats, / And / the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief, /And the dry stone no sound of water.

But fortunately for me, at some point in the process of dealing with my predisposition to depression and intermittent suicidal ideation, I discovered T. S. Eliot’s post-1929 poetry. (The “magic” year of 1929 turned out to be Eliot’s annus mirabilis:  the year he converted to Christianity, joined the Anglican Church, and became a self-described “Anglo-Catholic” — to the astonishment of good friends like Virginia Woolf.) I still saw myself in “Gerontion”:  “An old man [though I was only in my thirties] in a dry month … waiting for rain [whose] house was a decayed house”. “Gerontion” remains for me to this day one of the most starkly terrifying poems in the English language, much of the terror being traceable to Gerontion’s insipidity by virtue of his embodiment of the buried life Matthew Arnold had previously written aboutThere rises an unspeakable desire  / After the knowledge of our buried life,  / A thirst to spend our fire and restless force  / In tracking out our true, original course; / A longing to inquire  / Into the mystery of this heart which beats  / So wild, so deep in us, to know  / Whence our lives come and where they go. I could relate, and to this day can recite large passages of “Gerontion” from memory.

Church of St. John the Evangelist, Little Gidding

 

I say “fortunately for me”, because, along with “Gerontion,” I also discovered Eliot’s great cycle of religious poetry, The Four Quartets, which I am still, after forty-plus years, very much in the process of unpacking, and which I still consider to this day to be the greatest religious poetry ever written, worthy of favorable comparison to Dante’s Divine Comedy.  (So compelling was this estimate that I even wrote an undergraduate thesis delineating the relationship between the two great works. Being a math, physics, and philosophy major, not an English major, at Wichita State at the time, I had to move heaven, earth, the Office of the Academic Dean, and the WSU English department to get permission, but it was worth the effort.) I do not have time to write, nor do you have time to read, the reasons why the discovery of the Quartets was the beginning of the decades-long process by which my life – I mean the following literally – was saved, and by which I was able to climb out of the black hole to which my childhood and adolescent experience with a dysfunctional family and an equally dysfunctional hyper-fundamentalist religious upbringing had previously consigned me.

So suffice to say that Eliot’s great accomplishment in the Quartets was to achieve a kind of coincidentia oppositorum of Comedy and Tragedy, depicting the dependence of each on the other, not only or even primarily at the level of the culture, but in the individual’s life – “the fire and the rose are one” (“Little Gidding”) — a reconciliation rendered even more authentic by the fact that Eliot had actually lived his poetry in his own religious and spiritual struggles, and in his fraught relationship with his disturbed wife Vivienne Haigh-Wood, culminating in her commitment to a mental institution, in collaboration with Vivienne’s own brother. (To this day, I wonder if the lines Eliot wrote in “Little Gidding” refer obliquely to the pangs of conscience he suffered as a result of this collaboration:  … the shame of motives late revealed, the awareness / Of things ill done and done to others’ harm / Which once you took for exercise of virtue.) At the very least, the Four Quartets is a prominent exception to Eliot’s later – and, I think, well justified — contention that the greatest problem with religious poetry is that the poet usually writes more about how she wishes she felt than about how she really feels. Perhaps so. But the Quartets is a great exception. So I feel a great kinship with Eliot because, as he wrote in Burnt Norton, “[H]uman kind / cannot bear very much reality,” and in many related ways, Eliot and I both came very much to the edge of how much “reality” a human can “bear”.

All the above accounts for why, to this day, at least half the poetry I have “accidentally” memorized is drawn from the works of T. S. Eliot, from “Hollow Men” to “Preludes” (the worlds revolve like ancient women gathering fuel in vacant lots) to The Wasteland to “Gerontion” to Four Quartets. Despite being physically and chronologically separated, these works collectively constitute a kind of twentieth-century equivalent of Pilgrim’s Progress. Different as are the poets, and prose authors, whose work I have “accidentally” memorized, they all share one common characteristic:  beginning with Tennyson and “Ulysses,” they all, without exception, made explicit in words many thoughts, feelings, intuitions, insights, and just plain “hunches” that had been circulating in me for some time, and gave those thoughts, feelings, etc., an overt form.  (That is true even of the French symbolists and the more recondite texts of Wallace Stevens:  I don’t “understand” them … yet I do.) One concluding element of my “accidental” archive, this from A Midsummer Night’s DreamThe poet’s eye, in a fine frenzy rolling, / Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven; / And as imagination bodies forth / The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen / Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing / A local habitation and a name. Yes. Exactly.

During the junior-high year in AP English at Horace Mann I spent with Mr. Morse, he gave the class two poems to memorize, one for each semester:  The Wreck of the Hesperus and The Highwayman.  They were excellent poems, and, in a way, memorizing them and reciting them before the class, as we all were required to do at the end of each of the two semesters, was actually fun. But neither ignited, or was ignited by, a “fire in the belly,” like the foregoing examples. Neither “memorized themselves” as did, e.g., for me, “Ulysses” or the opening paragraph of “Little Gidding”. (Today, in fact, I remember The Wreck of the Hesperus primarily because of the hilarious and ribald Mad Magazine satire of the poem.) The common thread that unites the other poems is a love of the text itself, and the correlative love of the language – both of which were forged in the crucible of actual life-experience. I literally cannot imagine, nor do I particularly want to imagine, my life without, e.g., “Ulysses” and The Idylls of the King and Gerard Manley Hopkins’ “terrible sonnets” and Wallace Stevens’ “The Idea of Order at Key West” (and “The Snowman” and “The Emperor of Ice Cream” and “Sunday Morning” … etc.) and A. R. Ammons’ “Easter Morning” and Eliot’s “Hollow Men” and The Wasteland and “Preludes” and Four Quartets. Prof. Worthen simultaneously overestimates and underestimates the importance of memorization:  she overestimates it because she seems to confuse knowing a poem with memorizing it; and she underestimates it by seeing poetry as less than what it is, or at least as what it can eventually become:  an actual load-bearing structure of one’s identity and self-hood. A part of one’s soul.

© 2017, James R. Cowles

Editorial note: James is a feature writer at Beguine Again, the sister site to The BeZine, and a core team member of the The Bardo Group Beguines. He has master’s in math from Wichita State University, a master’s in physics as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow from Tulane, a master’s in English literature from Tufts by way of Harvard and, as a Council of Europe Fellow, Oxford (Exeter College … same Oxford college as JRR Tolkien), and a master’s in theology (MAPS) from Seattle University.

Image credits

Homer … British Museum … Public domain
T. S. Eliot, 1934 … Lady Ottoline Morrell … Public domain
Church of St. John the Evangelist, Little Gidding … Nick MacNeill … CC BY-SA 2.0
Portrait of Shakespeare … John Taylor (?) … Public domain
Sarah Bernhardt as Hamlet … James Lafayette … Public domain
Albert Camus … Robert Edwards … Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported