www.whyville.net Nov 27, 2011 Weekly Issue

Times Writer

A Poet is a Poet

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When I write poetry, I do indeed use real life situations. Sometimes there will come a time when I think up a poem that is not about me, so I write those too, but they're rare. Poetry, to me, is not an art, it's just a big group of words put together. The words become letters, the letters become thoughts, and the thoughts become nothing but boring entertainment, which is why it's rather easy for me to write a poem. People say that to be a true poet, you have to "feel" the poem, and "know" it. I can't tell you that I know more than three of my poems by heart (and they're short), but I like to think of myself as a fine writer. I only "feel" my poems because they're about me, I sort of have to. But what happens when a poem is not about me?

I am still a poet. I just write differently. Maybe I could show you a couple examples?

Sleep (a poem about myself)

And in the midst of my very errors
The world ignores my withering flowers
And the worst comes from my terrors
Monsters with many powers

They told me not to talk,
To keep the question secret
But they should know that, truthfully,
They can't trust me to keep it

Falling slowly, barely moaning
Watch me as I weep
Nightmares follow while I wallow
Save me from my sleep

Mother (a poem not related to myself)

The words run together,
I cannot find mother
Her voice comes to me like no other
The sounds of escape,
I must have come late!
My mother is gone, forever
The vicious disease
It's dirty little deeds,
It's long gone but still I plead.

The sounds of her smile,
The looks are worthwhile
Her happiness is special to me.
I miss my mother's laugh,
Cancer took her back,
To the land of the golden, the place of peace:
A time of utter class.

The second one, to me, does not sound nearly as heartfelt, but there was not a big difference between the two. And it's hard to tell when a poem is not about oneself. My English teacher recently told the class that, to be a poet, it's better to make mysterious poems and not show obviously what you're talking about, but you also must feel them. I don't believe this. I've made a handful of obvious poems, take my poem "Is That You, CakelTame?" for example. I got my point across smoothly that I do have one favorite City Worker overall, and I'm pretty sure Whyvillians got that. They still liked it, I'm guessing, since it has four stars.

But I will admit that I've had my share of "mysterious" poetry. I like to write about myself, as I've said before, as well as about my dreams. If you're one who reads my poems, you may have started thinking about "Nightmares". Actually, that was not about me. Sort of, though. I believe I had a dream that someone was suffering over something (I just checked my dream-book, and I wasn't writing so clearly). That dream became the poem. I put myself in that person's spot.

My English teacher also under-analyzes things. If it's obvious, she will clearly go with the obvious way out. When she does this, it's mostly to annoy the kids who feel they have written something that can be taken many different ways. She thinks they make their poems obvious because they are being rebels. This is like when a person, out of jealousy, rates your poem lower than it should have been rated. It's frustrating and annoying at the same time, and frankly, it might make you want to quit writing altogether.

Don't. If your English teacher (or anyone) does something like this to you, don't feel discouraged. Your poetry if your poetry, and someone out there understands. To me, poetry is only a group of words, but it's also like a life. It's distant sometimes, and sometimes it's clear.

I also just want to end with making a confession. I feel embarrassed that I write poetry in real-life situations, so I do not tell nor show anyone but my mother (and I barely do that anymore). When I told my teacher that I wanted to be a writer, she smiled really big and asked me to write her a poem. Yes, this encouragement ruined my day and sent me deep into a depression. I wasn't really depressed but it sure felt that way. I can't explain why, but I don't like it when adults tell me how good my poem is. Maybe it's because I feel like they're just overlooking it?

If you're embarrassed about your writing ability (even if it's wonderful), don't feel like less than a poet or writer. It's up to you what you are.


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