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Sunday Read
David Amerland
Sunday Read
Sep 10, 4:08 AM


Long before rock and roll was considered the “work of the devil” ( subverting the morals of proper-raised youth and destroying the fabric of civilized society ( we had poetry ( and a clutch of poets whose rebellious attitude towards society, morals and art ( reshaped the world of letters.

The Pre-Raphaelites featured amongst them gender breakaways like Christina Rossetti ( whose Goblin Market ( has cast a haunting allure upon me ever since I first read it, and were responsible for the backdrop through which Lord Byron ( would rise to notoriety as “mad, bad and dangerous to know” (, living his short life to the fullest.

Poetry is, by design and definition, distilled semantic meaning layered upon context, driven by intent and enriched by association of each of its layers. Its similarity to code hasn’t gone unnoticed ( Nor has its impact diminished with time ( And even though it has to compete with a myriad other forms of entertainment and self-improvement it, its close connection with the psyche ( makes it a vehicle unlike any other when it comes finding a means of self-expression ( as well as self-discovery (

Wilfred Owen’s 1914 ( for instance or Futility ( weave a spell about life, war and death that’s impossible to avoid. W. B. Yeats’ ( An Irish Airman Foresees His Death ( asks us to consider how to balance our passage with our passing (and why). His Second Coming ( has virtually become the anthem of our days.

Dover Beach ( written by Matthew Arnold ( has prompted much analysis and discussion ( for its haunting, timeless imagery. Poems do more, of course than just use their words to evoke pictures that pry open our minds. They challenge beliefs ( become the basis of books ( and act as representative agents of a particular time (

But poetry, like music, does way more than that. While it may be representative of its age, it mines and feeds upon the strands that go into the make-up of the human condition. As such, with few exceptions, poetry remains current, vibrant and relevant. In The Sniper Mind (for instance) I referenced Rudyard Kipling’s ( work: If ( with its deceptively simply meter ( that goes on to unfurl, almost like a recipe for bravery and cool-headedness with each reading.

In Shakespeare’s poetry we hear the ebb and flow of human emotion ( indistinguishable from the far more contemporary W.H. Auden ( whose Law Like Love ( explores the paradox of our need for guidelines we are seldom prepared to always keep ( or Dylan Thomas’ ( Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night ( that challenges our acceptance of death.

All of this reflects a peculiarity, perhaps. For all its power and timelessness, poetry is undergoing some challenging times where it’s losing audiences and failing to produce fresh firebrands to take on the tradition ( Where are the new Poes ( to cry out their love and loss ( or even the new Tennessee Williamses ( to hurry us on and tell us to be mindful? (
Arguably it is a temporary dip as we marshal out ills and sufferings and hopes and longings in a new century ( before we spring forth with fresh talent and new vision. Maybe. But in the meantime we can still enjoy those of the past ( even if they were founded on a mistake (

I hope you have had the kind of foresight and wisdom that ensures you are now enriched with coffee and fueled with donuts, croissants, cookies, ice cream and chocolate cake. Have an awesome Sunday wherever you are.
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