It is St. Briget’s Day and though it is not astronomically the first day of Spring, it seems like many folks are putting behind them the dark, cold days of winter and turning towards lighter and warmer days. Pagans celebrate this day with a feast called Imbolc, honoring the goddess Briget while some Christians have folded this celebration into their belief system by commemorating an Irish nun, also named Briget, as a saint. On Sunday, the church also will commemorate Jesus’ presentation at the temple. Historically, many of the devoted have brought their candles to church on this day for a blessing (Candlemas), a symbolic linking to the belief that Jesus is the Light of the World.
Let’s not forget that tomorrow many in North America will observe Groundhog Day, a weather-forecasting tradition brought to the new world by German immigrants. If a groundhog sees his shadow on this day, then there will be six-more weeks of inclement weather.
It seems that these celebrations, commemorations, and observations focus on themes of light and the turning of time, and this integration of themes has resulted in February 1, 2 and 3 becoming the unofficial start of Spring. It seems like we can’t help ourselves but to look forward to longer and warmer days.
I myself can see the sun rising higher in the sky each day and its rays beginning to creep across my yard. That being the case, I had better get to work in the garden and start planting some lettuce and beets.
I was astonished to realize that I have written nearly 100 poems. I write poetry from time-to-time and for challenges like NaPoWrimo, but I guess it adds up over the years. Even though I identify myself as a poet on my “About” page, I still have a hard time embracing it. Poetry seems to be cool and hip only within a relatively small community of like-minded word nerds, such as myself. I have had friends read my poems and snicker. Or sometimes they say things like, “It doesn’t rhyme.” They don’t stop to look at internal rhymes, alliterations, assonances, meter, metaphors, evocative themes and all the other characteristics of poetry.
Most people I know don’t read or even like poetry. It is not mainstream anymore, not since before the radio and television age when poem-casting, along with story-telling and singing, were how our ancestors amused themselves around a fire in the evening.
Maybe I am not a poet and don’t know it.
Maybe, though, I have a different definition of poetry. For me, poetry is not merely a form of entertainment or a literary art form to be mastered. For me, poetry is crafting an economy of words intended to convey subtle, evocative, expressive ideas in unique, brief, and innovative ways. I write poems to hone my word-smithing abilities. Poetry is a writing exercise for me. Poetry is not a noun; it is a verb. It is about the process, not the product.
I know I’ve harped on this idea in past posts, but I will say it again: I don’t mind if I am not a good poet. Like any true nerd, I don’t care what people think as long as I am doing what I enjoy.