On a rainy summer day when I was about seven years old, I decided to create a poetry book. It was a collection of my favorite poems at the time, and my very favorite one was by Emily Dickinson. It went like this:
I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you Nobody too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t Tell! They’d banish us, you know!
How dreary to be Somebody!
How public like a frog
To tell one’s name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!
I don’t rightly recall why this particular poem tickled my little girl brain so much. Maybe it was the funny little comparison of a human to a frog. Maybe it was the brevity of the poem, which made it easy for a child to memorize. Whatever it was, it drove me to seek out more poetry & to write volumes of the stuff myself. I even had a poem published in Jack & Jill magazine all those years ago! Dickinson did not remain my favorite poet for long, but I can say, without a doubt, my love of the classics began with an infatuation with the agoraphobic woman who said so much with so few words.
My love of poetry actually started long before that summer. Right before I started kindergarten, I wrote my very first poem–an ode to my cat who was found fatally caught up on something in my grandpa’s barn. Sadly, my grandma & I discovered him and I cried and cried. I have lost the poem over the years (I’m certain it must be in one of the thousands of boxes in my parents’ attic), but I do remember the title & first lines. Dead Cat Snowball started out like this: My dead cat Snowball/hung himself on the barn wall…the meter is all wrong, but it rhymed throughout the piece in little sets of couplets like this one, as I recall. Not too bad for a little girl who was just turning five. It’s pretty amazing too, that I relied on writing and poetry as a catharsis, even then.
Why do you think that Death & Darkness are such popular themes in writing? Dickinson repeatedly wrote about the subject and I even chose the topic for my first ever attempt at poetry. Is it because every one of us ultimately succumbs to it? Because death has more to do with life than we give it credit for? Because it’s life’s greatest mystery? Death is among the top twelve literary themes out there. This literary device is full of drama and mystique. Sometimes it’s beautiful, sometimes it’s hideous. Sometimes it’s heroic. It can be fraught with chaos, or it can be serene. Death wears many faces, but it is always inevitable.
Dodoitsu. No, I didn’t just sneeze; this is a Japanese form of poetry, similar to that of a haiku, but it comprises of 26 syllables broken into four lines following a 7-7-7-5 pattern. Unlike the haiku, which is generally nature-driven, the dodoitsu is more folksy and traditionally deals with love or humor. I’d never heard of this poetry form before, how about you? Bless the A to Z Challenge for causing me to look up poetry forms beginning with the letter ‘D’ today!