The Daily…ish

Poetry and Miscellany

  • Poem

    Men say they know many things;
    But lo! they have taken wings—
    The arts and sciences,
    And a thousand appliances;
    The wind that blows
    Is all that any body knows.

    ~ Henry David Thoreau

    (in context)

Deep in My Cubicle

Posted by Matthew on March 19, 2007

…would be a great title for a sequel to today’s poem, as sort of a children’s poem for the workin’ man, or something.

But seriously, I chose today’s poem because, frankly, I just felt like something a little more entertaining than the usual classic or even (perhaps especially) contemporary fare, a mark which Deep in Our Refrigerator hits, for me.

Which brings me to a question: what part does/should entertainment play in poetry? My initial thought is that it should play a much larger part than it currently does. I’m sorry, but on any given day, I’m probably going to be more entertained by Shel Silverstein or Jack Prelutsky than Sylvia Plath or Ron Siliman. And when it comes to rhythm, which I have always thought is wildly important in poetry (and I don’t mean a fixed meter, necessarily), I think of Frost, Eliot, and my man Shel. My point is, poetry should, quite literally, feel good when you read it aloud (which one should always, always do). A fixed meter works, obviously, but the same effect can be created by groupings of words that, for whatever reason, sound… tasty.

It seems like I departed from my original topic, there, but I don’t think so. Poetry that feels good on the tongue is entertaining, I think–why do you think rap is so popular? It’s got rhythm and entertainment value. And for my money, a lot of rap is at least as poetic as anything Silliman and his ilk ever wrote. And I dare say that Shel Silverstein and Eminem (also) have brought more people to poetry in recent years than any language or so-called “quietest” poet you care to name.

Poem: Deep in Our Refrigerator, by Jack Prelutsky
Thoreau: March 19, 1858

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