TERENCE, this is stupid stuff: …
Pretty friendship ’tis to rhyme
Your friends to death before their time
Moping melancholy mad:
Come, pipe a tune to dance to, lad.’
A.E. Housman from “Terence, this is stupid stuff”
That is A. E. Housman referring to his own writing of poetry.
As I wandered around the library taking pictures of staff and their favorite poetry books for a poetry video at least 2 staff members said, “I hate poetry”.One explained that she could easily define chemistry terms for me instead, and I know she is lover of good fantasy novels, so she gets a pass on poetry. The other mentioned that she did like poetry but she didn’t like analyzing it in school. That seemed familiar to me. I remember really liking the poem,
“The force that through the green fuse drives the flower” by Dylan Thomas and thinking I had written a really great critique of it in 10th grade, only to find my teacher didn’t agree. Rereading the poem now, I’m sure I missed the point back then, but I couldn’t necessarily tell you what it is now either. And I don’t have to. I can just enjoy it. We are not in school now and we are free to like the poetry we like, including ballads sung by popular musicians, old folk songs, and yes, Dr. Seuss.
Once upon a time I had to memorize 20 lines of poetry a week! Which is really useful for entertaining guests (Not) and creating passwords—in fact, I can’t tell you my favorite poet because then my online life would be an open book.
So read and memorize all the “Stupid stuff” you want…or not.
Happy National Poetry Month!