OBSERVING THE OBVERSE
The side of a coin or medal with the head or main design.
The opposite or counterpart of a fact or truth.
Poetry is a wonderfully versatile medium. So too is verse, self-evidently. Some say these two are different things altogether. I am not enough of a poet to hazard an opinion on that subject. Suffice to say that what I have written, and presented here for your consideration, you may categorise entirely as you wish. I will not be offended I promise!
I have been fascinated by verse since I was a young child. Like many of us I suspect, I grew up reading and, occasionally reciting, nursery rhymes, but quickly fell under the poetic influence of Theodor Geisel; better known as Dr Seuss. The fact that so many of the characters brought to life by Geisel - including, for example, The Cat in the Hat, the Grinch, Horton, and the Lorax - remain a part of popular culture more than half a century after they were created, and three decades after their creator departed this world, bears testimony to his far-reaching influence.
At the age of 14 I was touched by the works of Robert Frost for the first time when a line from his poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” formed a crucial element of the plot of the film, Telefon (starring a typically stoic Charles Bronson, a subtly glamorous Lee Remick, and a decidedly unpleasant Donald Pleasence). I saw the film at the movie theatre with my parents – almost certainly the last occasion upon which just the three of us had an outing of that kind together.
Three years later I chose Frost as the subject of the poetry analysis component of my English studies for the Higher School Certificate.
I remember sitting in the Stanton Library at North Sydney late in 1980, having pored over commentary regarding Frost’s style, as well as a number of the poems themselves, and feeling this extraordinary sense of connection to the man and his work. A connection that, sadly, seemed to lose some of its almost spiritual mystique once the exam question had been considered and answered. But he remains a favourite.
Like any good piece of writing, a good poem will hopefully make us think about the world around us in a fresh way; or at least aid us to regain a perspective we once held, but which may have become lost to us with the passing of time, and the cruel erosion of memory, and other faculties, that seems to accompany its passing.
Poetry, verse, doggerel, haiku, song lyrics; they all intrigue me, and I have tried my hand at each over the years. Hopefully you will find something among them that provides a new frame of reference – if not of the world at large, then your own circumstances perhaps? Fingers crossed.