“There are people who understand and love poetry and people who cannot stand it. The latter are much more and they are the masters of today’s world.” – Lyubomir Levchev
These days only the poet himself doesn’t know what poetry is. He is the one who doesn’t try to beautify its dead lovers. He doesn’t take advantage of its former wives. He doesn’t kill it without making mistakes. He doesn’t dream of its cold comfort. He puts all his questions to its mirror. He doesn’t try to convince the shape of its stone in his firmness. He knows that if it is heads and he is tails, what’s important is the coin. But he is not its fairy tale.
If someone asks him why poetry is important or why he is interested in poetry, he answers that poetry is not important at all and that’s the sole reason for which he is interested in it. “In the century of you must do it because it is good for you”, he will continue, “there exists this special kind of artistry, this unique cross-breed of originality and cautious contemplation, this music for the inner ear and imagery for the inner eyes which is not doing any good to anybody”. The oldest tree in the forest, you see, is the most useless one, owed to the fact that it is good for nothing else but providing shade to strangers.
“Everyone stands alone at the heart of the world,
pierced by a ray of sunlight,
and suddenly it’s evening”
– Salvatore Quasimodo, Tutte le poesie
And this is precisely how a strange and unnecessary love like this can happen in an alternative world where happiness is not the universal virtue by default and clichés are not always regarded as common sense. Such a love seems to occur only when uncalled-for and unexpected and then disappears if you try to talk to her about the practical implications of her essence or the importance of her virtue. As Lao-Tzu once beautifully said, “A virtue that is aware of itself is not a virtue”.
Once Diogenes saw a child drinking out of his hands, and so he threw away his cup and said “That child has beaten me in simplicity”.
Yes, you don’t have to do it. If you can go without it, it’s better for you. To believe in absurdities is the first symptom of poetry and unless you are terminally ill with it, save yourself the trouble. If you believe it is inevitable, always have in mind that “the point of action is contemplation”. If you read and write poetry, don’t do it to put down people who may not look as erudite as you and don’t do it for the sake of being non-conformist, because this is exactly what conformists do. No insincere and inferior motivation will bring you the same experience as when you just do it for the sake of spontaneity. It’s not the same as going to the gym regularly or nightclubbing every Saturday even when what you really wanted was to sleep that night. There is no authority and no law which requires you to do it and no social pressure to do it under the false promises of certain yet never fulfilled future happiness.
“Because verse writing is an extraordinary accelerator of conscience, of thinking, of comprehending the universe. Having experienced this acceleration once, one is no longer capable of abandoning the chance to repeat this experience; one falls into dependency on this process, the way others fall into dependency on drugs or on alcohol. One who finds himself in this sort of dependency on language is, I guess, what they call a poet.” – Joseph Brodsky
About the author:
Bogomil (20) participated in our workshop in Sofia, Bulgaria, in 2012. He currently studies Computer Science at the University of Southampton in England.