Do I dare to eat a peach? I am not a frequent poetry reader, but I do admire a good poem, and I do enjoy “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” with its enigmatic imagery and talking of Michelangelo.
I have fun unraveling an E.E. Cummings piece with its just-so placement of words and phrases and punctuation that makes so much delightful sense when you solve the puzzle.
When I was a kid and made up songs by the dozen, I would turn to Mom’s poetry book when I ran out of ideas for lyrics. If I say so myself, I created a haunting rendition of Carl Sandburg’s “Grass,” a rousing version of Longfellow’s “Excelsior,” and a lovely ballad from Longfellow’s “My Lost Youth” that I may yet relearn the guitar so I can record it someday. “A boy’s will is the wind’s will, and the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts.”
Most poetry these days is found in song lyrics. Paul Simon’s “The Boxer” is an astonishing poem that could stand beside “Prufrock.” Woodworth’s spirit no doubt wishes he had written a couplet like, “There were ghosts in the eyes of all the boys you sent away/They haunt this dusty beach road in the skeleton frames of burned-out Chevrolets.”
I’m glad my parents were readers and let us explore wherever our tastes and curiosity ventured. It’s why I can say with a straight face that my favorite literary works include The Scarlet Letter, The Martian and Amazing Spider-Man #31-33, and my favorite music includes Holst’s The Planets, “Good Vibrations” and “Revolution 9.”