I thought I should revisit my “Blogs I read” listing, and discovered in the process that C. Dale is no longer adding to his blog, Avoiding the Muse. But I found an interesting question there: which poem first captured your imagination? Or as he put it: many poets can trace back and name the poem that first took hold of them, excited them beyond anything …the poem that elicited almost a conversion reaction.
For me it wasn’t really one poem, but a sort of stumble into poetry thanks to a beloved English teacher. I’ve written about this:
Poems by Heart
The first one I learned was for Miss Underhill
in seventh grade: Frost’s woods.
with her melodious grief,
like nothing I’d heard before,
like the drumbeat of my tribe.
I grabbed onto poetry as if
it were the round, white circle
of canvas-covered cork
they kept by the lifeguard’s chair
when they hauled me out,
and stood me on my feet,
The poems meant that there had to be others.
They had left me a trail of words,
little candy lifesavers
in a rainbow of colors,
and I ate them, one by one,
as I made my way
across the acres
of suburban sidewalks
to find them.
I wonder which poem or book or piece of art first excited you?
And I do highly recommend memorizing poems; it adds a store of wonderful images to your life.