Hello, everyone! Marina Sofia here to act like a wet blanket on all your holiday plans… I have been told that my poetry is all doom and gloom, that I should lighten up, but somehow I always revert back to black. So please excuse this weighty subject amongst the Midsummer frivolity, but it’s my birthday today and I’ll cry if I want to!
There are days when the cracks beneath the surface became too much and our world (or at least our vision of it) breaks into a million fragments. This despair often leads us to poetry: trying to express the unsayable, trying to make sense of the random and painful. Here is English poet Michael Symmons Roberts’ take on it in his poem ‘World into Fragments’:
Small breaks first […]
Reasons for this shattering include:
too great a tension, too much shrill,
a world more fragile than we thought.
The most iconic ‘fragmentation’ poem of all is, of course, T. S. Eliot’s ‘The Waste Land’, with its disjointed rhythms, abrupt change of topics and tone, and mix of languages. It may be called the original mash-up poem: trying to make sense of a world that was irredeemably broken after World War One, not even attempting to recapture an innocence that was clearly lost forevermore.
And yet, and yet… glum though poets usually are, there is some hope for rebuilding, for making whole again. Speaking in very broad stereotypes here (and T. S. Eliot perfectly disproves it), it usually takes European poets to complain about a world in ruins, and American poets to energise us into rising from the ashes. Jerome Rothenberg reminds poets that everything is within their power, for they have the magic of words on their side.
No world is too hard,
If you summon up enough heat.
You can do it.
The fire’s there in your fingertips.
So for today’s prompt, I would like you to consider what does it take to shatter your world and how do you make it whole again? For some, it is faith; for others it is love and family. Some even seek wholeness at the bottom of a glass. It can be something of gigantic proportions, or tiny little gestures, half-remembered words and unclear images. Do you believe that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger? Or do you cover your world in a protective glass bell?
I hope that proves that we need not be gloomy with today’s prompt, but that it offers something for all kinds of poets. Interestingly enough, in a writing seminar, I remember the tutor saying that far fewer people ever describe happy sentiments when they write in workshops. Sadness and anger are just much easier to write about.
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Have a lovely summer (or winter), a well-deserved break, and look forward to reading you today, tomorrow and always.