1928 - Alderson High School - 1968


National Poetry Month
Herman King 09

April is National Poetry Month. It is about time that we once again gave this form of literature the love and respect it deserves. It is said that more people write poetry than read it in our culturally degraded times. In fact, nearly half of the American population doesn't read any kind of book, let alone poetry. It was different in the past. Great poets were respected as much, if not more, than statesmen, philosophers and scientists. Do the names of William Shakespeare, Dante and Homer ring a bell? There names stand head and shoulders in the pantheon of western civilization along with those of Plato, Aristotle, Galileo and Newton. (I won't list the names of so-called statesmen, because many of them turned out to be just politicians). Other civilizations also produced great poets, but it is the western genre that we are most familiar with. I read and wrote poetry in my younger days, had some success in getting published. I once sent a collection of my poetry to Simon and Schuster. I got a letter back from Max Schuster, saying he enjoyed my poetry but unfortunately they only published established poets, most of whom were professors who made their living through teaching.

I guess that is why so much modern poetry is pedantic. My favorite poetry is lyrical, where literature is expressed in a musical style. Some examples are the short verse of A.E. Housman, Edgar Allan Poe and Walter De La Mare. Of course there are a few longer poems that are lyrical and supremely beautiful, like Shelley's Ozymandias and the sonnets of John Keats (who lived only a pitiful 26 years). How do you persuade people to read poetry? You can't. You can only suggest. Today we are so coarsened by such trash as hip hop, pornography and an "anything goes attitude" that our culture has reached its nadir. We are bottom-feeders now, the objective of the lowest common denominator has been reached.

So I close with this ditty of my own:

We look for secrets no one can teach
And spin our dreams from out thin air,
Tomorrow seems just out of reach
And happiness is always elsewhere.