So, I’ll be the first to admit that with everything I’ve learned about writing, I don’t know the first thing about poetry. I mean, it’s supposed to rhyme, right? Well…not always.
I asked around and was pointed in the direction of Emily Dickinson. She’s supposed to be amazing. Being skeptical of anything outdated, I tried to go in without expectations. I found this:
Success is counted sweetest
By those who ne’er succeed.
to comprehend a nectar
Requires sorest need.
Is she saying that success only seems sweet to those who haven’t had a taste? That those of us, who are successful end up bitter? Maybe I’m reading too much into it. She continues:
Not one of all the purple Host
Who took the Flag today
Can tell the definition
So clear of victory.
What the what?
If Host is capitalized, she must be referring to Jesus, but is she? The rest of the poem doesn’t seem in sync with that, and it has nothing to do with the first verse. Is everyone the purple Host, and victory tied into to success? No. Not one of those who took the Flag today. So, no one, who succeeds, can have a clear view of victory. Do they not taste sweet nectar? Whatevs…let’s keep going.
As he defeated – dying –
On whose forbidden ear
The distant stains of triumph
Burst agonized and Clear!
I don’t even know, wait, did he defeat the devil or is defeated by the devil? Is there a devil? Why is triumph stained? Why is clear capitalized? I must not be getting it, but here’s my issue. Emily Dickinson is gone, and none of us can ask her what she means, so literary scholars try to assign meaning, but that’s like me trying to assign meaning to some indie author’s short story about the Flu and say that’s it’s allegorical meaning is in reference to a down economy.
Others will claim that poetry is a true expression of emotion. Maybe it is. I don’t write poetry, and if I’m showing my ass here, so be it.
Naturally, I can’t make a judgment call off one poem, so I read others, and I still don’t get it. I often wonder if these “great” writers of the past are great just because no one else was writing.
Today, everyone is writing. All through school we are made to write, to be creative. I really think that a lot of people just say that something is amazing because everyone thinks so and they don’t want to seem like the odd one out. I’ll take the bullet and be the odd one out. I don’t get poetry, but I’d like to.
If anyone can shed a little light on the subject, please comment, or point me-all of us- in the right direction. If you write poetry, I’d love to have you on the blog. That way, I can present it more accurately.