Who writes poetry? We do!

When I was in 8th grade at Henrietta Barnett Grammar School for Girls in Hampstead Garden Suburb, London back in 1965, our Latin teacher, Miss Hickling, if I remember right, told us we could do no better than to memorize poetry, in Latin, in English, in French, but memorized. She said that during the blitz, and other London bombings in WWII, poetry was what sustained them, and in the dark, only memorized poetry, recited aloud, was any use. She apparently spent days camped out in the subway tunnels. Janet, Linda, Mickey and I were young and compliant enough to just make this another competition, and learned poetry, Shakespeare, Blake, Milton, Marvel, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, and many others, chanting them singsong like with no clue as to most of their meanings.

I haven’t had to live through a blitz, or the aftermath, which certainly contributed to the spinsterhood of my teachers (as they put it), but poetry is still important. We have Billy Collins on the back of the downstairs toilet where others might have the UTNE reader, or Orion. I really love his whimsical, melancholy poetry. I haven’t explored Houston poetry and I should. Sometimes I feel a poem welling up, but I usually am able to suppress them. Here’s one that came out, a poem I wrote in Haiku verses inspired by Lake Charlotte.

Paddle, drip, paddle

Paddle, drip, paddle,
The wounded lake ejects mullet
Then takes them back in.
Linda and Tom lead.
We avoid alligators
Under the willows.
Lunch on a high bank.
Near an ancient settlement,
We can hear I-10.
Cypress knees under
Water hang up our bright boats
By the ibis tree.
In the late yellow light,
brown cypress needles fall.
When will we come again?
Hmm, WordPress doesn’t much like poetry. Spacing is a challenge!

About Joan E. Strassmann

Evolutionary biologist, studies social behavior in insects & microbes, interested in education, travel, birds, tropics, nature, food; biology professor at Washington University in St. Louis
This entry was posted in Poetry and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Who writes poetry? We do!

  1. Leah says:

    You can try going to the html option, then put ” ” between the paragraphs.

    That should give you some space between them. Make sure you’re in the html tab – not visual. If you’re in visual, then you’ll see and not the actual spaces.

  2. Leah says:

    It worked in my comment! I typed in ” ” (break), which should give you a paragraph break.
    The little v’s tell the computer it’s a new html command. The / tells the computer to stop doing that command.

    I love what you write.

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