April 2018

Sunday, December 19, 2010

P. S. 24 Everyday Poetry

I first went to Ireland twenty-five years ago because I had read James Joyce and had been to quite a few poetry readings at my small-town college, and most of the poets were from Ireland. I wondered if people spoke poetry on Dublin's street corners. They do.

In North Carolina where I'm from, and in Dallas, where I once lived, poetry with an accent is shouted from  from the front porches.

Even here in grey Seattle, where folks think they don't have an accent, everyday poetry is everywhere. Poetry, I"m concluding, its sensibility and grace and delight in the word and in the world, must be part of the human spirit, part of the essence of what it means to be human. I'll share with you some of the poetry I've heard lately, and you'll have to agree:

"Being nekkid is okay when it's your toes, but it's another thing when it's your hooha" (my naturopath to me when I asked about the blinds being closed. Please note that it was neither my toes nor my hooha that were being referenced).
"You never spoke about me the way you spoke about mountains" (a colleague to her husband).
"Sometimes you're the pigeon and sometimes you're the statue" (faculty restroom door).
"So sometimes your hand just goes catyywompus?" (my nurse practitioner about the tremor in my hand).
"He's clean" (one hip high school freshman, commenting admiringly on another not-so-hip student's new purple shoes).
"His swag is old school" (one high school student commenting on an 18th century writer's style. My colleague Sarah G. taught me that "swagger," a noun, is teenspeak for "style," and that swagger goes beyond clothes to envelop concepts of originality, personality, and confidence.)

There's poetry in everyday speech, in teenspeak (which is different than everyday speech), in the mountains, in roses, and in graffiti. There's poetry everywhere, so long as we stop and notice, which is what poetry is about. It's not so much about words. It's about slowing down and noticing.

Thus ends today's lesson from the Blog of Mary.

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