Apparently it’s National Poetry Day. I like the idea of poetry. And I do enjoy reading it, but I’ve really done that so few times in my life. I couldn’t immediately point you to my favorite classic poems. And I’ve only written a few in my life. They all rhymed, which hardly seems Dickensonian enough to share today.
I’d like to be more familiar with the genre and always admired it in my author heroine, L.M. Montgomery. Poetry found its way into almost all her books – probably literally all of them.
This is one of my favorite passages from Rilla of Ingleside, which takes place during World War I.
The poem was a short, poignant little thing. In a month it had carried Walter’s name to every corner of the globe. Everywhere it was copied – in metropolitan dailies and little village weeklies, in profound reviews and “agony columns,” in Red Cross appeals and Government recruiting propaganda. Mothers and sisters wept over it, young lads thrilled to it, the whole great heart of humanity caught it up as an epitome of all the pain and hope and pity and purpose of the mighty conflict, crystallized in three brief immortal verses. A Canadian lad in the Flanders trenches had written the one great poem of the war. “The Piper” by Private Walter Blythe was a classic from its first printing.
Can you imagine writing something that “caught up” the whole of humanity that way? Can you imagine even reading it? Fortunately, and I think this might be the purpose for a day like today, at least one poem or line of poetry written by somebody somewhere has that power over each of us. Is there one like that for you?