I have friends who are poets. I know. Few people can say this. However, in my case, it isn’t a blessing, because I call myself a writer. Then, I read something that a poet has said, and I descend rapidly into the dumps (poetic?).
For example. I write about the daily grind of life. Dustballs. Macaroni and cheese. Weight Watchers. People can identify. I complain about my children. My spouse. Again, my readers nod in agreement with my observations. This is great! I feel validated.
But then, I read a simple description of an orange on a plate written by a poet, and the sheer beauty and brilliance of it brings not only tears to my eyes, but the realization that no matter how hard I try, any poem I would write would end up with “Roses are red.”
So what is it about these people? How come they see eternal truths in a crust of bread? Why is it when I look on that plate, all I see is something for the garbage disposal?
Well. I know a few poets personally. I won’t name names. But one thing is clear: these people are not normal. Well, they aren’t abnormal. What I mean to say is: they are in a different world a lot of the time. A poet friend of mine writes so brilliantly, but one time he lost his own car. Really. And another poet I know can write about lard and it becomes immortal. I put lard in my suet feeder.
I know that we must be thankful for our own gifts. We shouldn’t hide that light under a bushel. Of course, that line was probably written by a poet—who else would think of something like that?
So I will continue to write about vacuum cleaners and bleaching my teeth. All the while, I will envy the poets, who can paint word pictures and plumb the depths of our deepest emotions: while describing toe nail clippings.
( Ok. I will name names! This post is dedicated to David and Suzanne Garrison and Elizabeth Bastos with the greatest admiration. None of them have actually written about toe nail clippings, as far as I know…)
David Garrison’s latest anthology, Playing Bach in the DC Metro, is available on Amazon.
Elizabeth Bastos’ delightful blog is http://goodybastos.blogspot.com/