When I find myself in times of trouble it is not mother Mary who comes to me, but poetry.
I can't remember a time when I didn't like poetry. I blame being weaned on popular music. Of course the influence of enlightened teachers helped as well. Ever since I was able to read properly, which I think was around about the age of eight, because of being a late developer, I've been reading poetry and not just when I was required to, but for fun as well. Yes, I have always willingly read poetry. How cool is that?
As a child born into the rock 'n' roll decade popular music has always been a great influence on my thinking and my creativity. And I've long been of the opinion that if you can't say something in two minutes fifty then it's probably not worth saying. I'm not rubbishing great songs that are longer or great works of literature. Mighty tomes have their place. It's just that often being succinctly salient is the best way to say all that needs to be said; bare bones writing. Brevity. Carrying no passengers. People that know me know that I'm not the chattiest sort. There are times when I say very little. I could rarely be accused of having verbal diarrhoea. I can't understand these people who would rather use ten words when one will do. Then there are those verbose individuals who are permanently glued to their mobile phones, chatting away for hours on end to people they see every day. Wasted energy in my opinion. I also like the irony of what I've just written.
To repeat myself; one of the reasons I like poetry is because in the main, although not exclusively, it has a tendency to be concise. Brevity in art in my opinion is a good thing. The minimal is to be praised. Poetry very often says a lot with very little. As with any interesting and exciting art it's the gaps that are the best bits, what's left out. Left out for the beholder to fill in. "Between the girls are worlds that only lovers see..." Bill Nelson (Between the worlds - Be Bop Deluxe)
At school poetry was often present in English lessons. But I didn't need English lessons to read poetry. I would read it anyway. I liked it. I suppose to begin with it was fairly simple stuff or humorous offerings like Lear, De La Mare or Carroll, then a bit later Spike Milligan but it was all poetry and you have to start somewhere. As with appreciation of any art form there's nothing wrong with your toe in at the shallow end as long as eventually you pluck up courage to wade further in. Eventually pushing yourself to go into parts deeper than you feel you dare.
I still have a little anthology of poems I liked and wrote out at school in an exercise book. A treasure from my childhood.
As a spotty teenager I hid away in my bedroom, in misery and alone, writing reams of hormone-fuelled bad poetry. Some of which (unexpurgated and unedited) I have started to put on my 'If you feel it' blog. I don't make any great claims about the stuff. Most of it is immature and pretty dire, but it conveys my thoughts of the time. Those thoughts have made me who I am.
Today I continue to enjoy poetry it helps me during troubled times; it soothes, amuses, consoles, lifts and commiserates.
Poetry is life. Poetry is love. Poetry is.