Welcome to poems for friends. This blog has, of course, enabled me to expand my readership and share poems that friends of mine have written as well as some of my favorites from the “masters.” And it has opened the door to other bloggers who have responded to what I write and invited me to savor what they have created. To my surprise it has been particularly gratifying to encourage others to post their poems, including one person who had been writing beautiful poems for years but kept them under wraps.
Poetry has been important to me since childhood, when my mother read poems to my sister and me. Two of her favorites were Byron’s “The Isles of Greece” and Grey’s “Elegy in a Country Churchyard.” While these are not my favorite poems, they are my favorite memories of my mother.
Poetry is also a passion I share with my life partner (now spouse) Cathy Stewart. Over the years, we have used holidays, birthdays, etc. to write each other poems. She now demands a birthday and Valentine’s Day poem from me. Poetry on command has provided a surprising and fruitful creative impetus. She made the photo above.
I like short poems (Emily Dickenson) more than long ones. I also love the Iliad and the Aeneid, but work like theirs is beyond my reach as a poet. Other favorite poets are the Polish writer, Adam Zagajewski, the Americans Mary Oliver and Hart Crane and the English poet W. H. Auden.
The Corona pandemic has provided poetic inspiration. On one level, writing poems has enabled me to express the conflicting range of emotions and thoughts this life-altering experience has produced. And it has provided a means to participate in the reconfiguration of our world the virus has and is forcing.
Indian author Arundhati Roy may have said it best:
“Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.”
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Take a look at the poems under “selections.” Feedback is welcome.