I think Amanda Gorman’s poem at the inaugural (“The Hill We Climb” here at CNN) is going to revive an interest in poetry in the mainstream. She did an excellent job both in the composing and in the reading. I love her use of alliteration, and the striking images: “. . . Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest . . . .” And I really like the allusions, both the ones I caught, and the ones I only suspected. And the repetition? Yes, I like the repetition. I like the way it emphasizes her points, plays with the words and turns the meaning from one shade to another like a light show on a winter’s evening.
I have to admit, I’m picky about poetry, which feels weird to me because I’m very undiscriminating when it comes to prose. I can enjoy the back of a tissue box. Poetry is harder than prose. You have to read each word, and you often have to think about those words on many different levels. And so much of it is about depressing topics. But when poetry works for me,
The muse Melpomene found in Pompeii. Her world was on fire, too. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)
A Song for 2020
The fucking world is on fucking fire, tra-la-la-la-la. Between the plague and the fucking pyre, tra-la-la-la-la, So many coffins on the bier, tra-la-la-la-la. We’re paralyzed with doubt and fear, tra-la-la-la-la.
Someone else is saving the world, tra-la-la-la-la. Filmed on an iPhone, click on this URL, tra-la-la-la-la. Listen, be silent, speak up, support, tra-la-la-la-la. Can’t trust the government, police or the court, tra-la-la-la-la.
What can be done, what can be done? Wring our hands and stare at the sun? Wash the dishes until day be done? Ignore it all for escapist fun?
The poets would sing our troubles away, tra-la-la-la-la. Pack up, for an hour, our cares away, tra-la-la-la-la. See something, say something, do what we can, tra-la-la-la-la. It’s not perfect, but it’s a plan. Tra-la-la-la-la.
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