by Elizabeth T. Andrews
American Reporter Correspondent
November 6, 2007
A POET IN THE HOUSE
CARTERSVILLE, Ga. -- I am a poet. And although I have been called a lot of things - some unfit for this newspaper - "poet" is the only label I care to wear.
With a few exceptions, poets currently and historically are about as treasured as a bad case of rabies. The people picking up your garbage get paid far more than any poet I know. When most people hear the word "poet" they mentally conjure up some little shawled old man or woman gazing at the moon and writing lines like "The moon is blue and so are you and I am too."
Since it is becoming increasingly rare to hear somebody say "Have you read any good poems lately?" or even "I like 'Jingle Bells' but I don't understand poets," and in order to validate my existence, I thought I'd offer my column readers a brief look at poets in general and specifically the poet who lives at my house.
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Poets are absolutely awful people to have for friends.
You can tell a poet your wife ran off with your best friend yesterday and you fell this morning and broke your jaw and your doctor thinks you may have thyroid cancer and a poet will say - "That's nice. Have you noticed the wild flowers are a little late this year?"
Tell a poet your mother-in-law just died and a poet will say: "Did you remember to ask her before she died what's the color of a maple leaf on its bottom side?"
Poets will watch you when you least want to be watched and they'll wonder if you are really saying what you feel or if you are feeling what you just said or if you should be talking at all because that strange scraping sound against the window is a barren oak branch asking to come in out of the December snow.
Junk piles up around poets and they never notice it until somebody says, "Look at all this junk." Other times a poet will say "All this junk is getting on my nerves," and everybody will look around and say, "What junk?"
Poets should never get married because nobody wants to be married to someone who can't remember which meal comes first in the day or that there is a real connection between paying the light bill and having electricity ... and why people get so angry when the lights are shut off ... again.
Poets eat when they get hungry, sleep when they get tired, and they think kerosene lamps smell delicious and are grander than chandeliers.
During love-making a poet is apt to say things like, "Were you this good with your ex-wife?" or "Have you read Shakespeare's Sonnet No. 73?"
You can get a poet to swear, promise and pledge eternal love and you still won't have anything because poets believe now is eternal, love is general and not specific, and tomorrow rhymes with sorrow except for the first syllable. Poets often have love affairs just so they will have fodder for poems. They live and experience in order to write poems and they write poems in order to live.
Poets are probably the only people living who think onions make the kitchen smell good and the greatest perfume is when you rub a tomato leaf between your two fingers and then rub your fingers behind your ears.
Try to remember that poets will take you apart and consume you for poetry-food and when you are exhausted they will say things like, "I'm sorry if it hurts but I simply must know why your eyelashes are shorter on the sides than they are in the middle." Or they'll ask you stupid questions like, "Do clouds have bellies?"
Poets have three stages in their God-seeking: Yes. No. Maybe. They are bullish and boring in the first stage, melancholic and a little mad in the second stage, and they write grand poetry in the "perhaps" stage.
The "perhaps" poets believe God can be found in the long silent glances between friends, between a stranger and a poet, the cries of joy between lovers, the chuckle and cry and thumb-grabbing of a wee new babe, the kinship of a tree frog, the indefinable wonder of a night sky, or in a mind that keeps on questioning even though it knows the part can never grasp the Whole.
But never forget poets are people who love you but they can't stop to tell you so. The first crocus just called and they must watch the winter go.
AR Correspondent Elizabeth T. Andrews is based in Cartersville, Ga. Her Website features her columns and poetry. Write her at email@example.com, or at P.O. Box 816, Cartersville, GA 30120.