Poetic Perplexity

man in green top

From the desk of Teresa Jordan – Here is my confession: I feel like I should love poetry. I was an English major, I love all things literary and I like to collect, process and deliberate my thoughts through writing. I love quotes about what is important and/or inspiring, and these quotes are often from poems – but all in all, I am not a fan of poetry. 

I guess I generally want more. I find a great quote or line, but then read the poem and find the added context actually makes the quote more confusing or that the layers of meaning I have been applying to the one line are now lost in the sublime lament of the dozens of other chopped up lines of meaning … of, well, overloaded verbiage. 

For instance, I love the term “mind forged manacles.”  I found it in a business article, cited from a William Blake poem. “Mind forged manacles” is just such a great summation of a concept that I often discuss or mull over… all of those limitations that we apply to ourselves based on our fears, all those limitations imposed because of our deeply-rooted backgrounds, cultures and environment, all of that inner critic dialogue that so often chains us in place when something better is so near.

So, I can totally get behind this idea that our mind has forged in the heated fire of living with these life limiting irons clamped on us and keeping us in one place. The next logical step was to look up the poem.  Hoping for more context, more mind blowing analogies that back up all that I was enchanted with in this one line, if found …  nothing … just a super-rich, steeped-in hidden-meaning, bunch of little phrases that even a day later, I cannot not unravel from their tangled web of simile and imagery.  

So there is my confession, dear William Blake – I love the image that is instantly created in your term “mind forged manacles”; however, I cannot love your poems and would rather read the instructions on my shampoo bottle than the bulk of your poems.

I guess despite the image I would love to create of a erudite poetry-loving academic with a scotch in one hand and a pencil carefully tucked into my pulled back hair,  I am instead, just what I am. I am just trying to figure things out and I  know two things at the end of this musing – I don’t love poetry and my shampoo bottles recommends that I repeat if necessary.

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