Feb 15 2008

Becoming A Poet

Published by at 6:27 am under Prose

by Sander Roscoe Wolff

Once upon a time there was a young woman who didn’t know what to do with herself. She tried many things to pass the time, but nothing seemed to hold her interest for very long.

She learned to dance and was quite good, but all that twirling and jumping about seemed rather silly. She found a singing teacher who helped to develop her voice, and she was wonderful. Children, old people and even animals would pause from their daily labours to listen to her sing. Singing, though, didn’t interest her because all the songs were old and talked about things she didn’t understand.

Continuing her quest to pass the time, she found a master painter who taught her all the subtleties of his craft, from pencil, pen and ink and water colours to the rich hues of the oils. She learned how to stretch canvas, build frames, even mix her own colours, but after a while she tired of painting fruit and trees, so she abandoned painting.

Then, one autumn, a poet came to her village. She couldn’t say if he was young or old because, although he had a youthful countenance, his face seemed weathered with experience. His eyes were a clear blue and they seemed to catch and reflect the light in strange ways. His light brown hair was streaked blond from the sun, and his well made clothes were just slightly worn. His voice was rich and deep, but with a soft tenderness that made all who heard it draw near. She was especially fascinated by his hands, which, while rough in appearance, were as soft as calf skin.

To further her quest, she asked the poet to teach her his craft. Laughing, he explained that poetry was an art, and like all good art, required a mastery of the basic tools before one could lay claim to the title of Poet. He agreed to teacher the things there were to learn, and she proved herself a most able student. She learned about rhyme in time, the bark and bite caught in consonants, the flowing breeze of easy words, the carefully structured selections of words that become what we know of as meter.

Mastery of these skills proved difficult for the young woman, not because of a weakness in her intellect or vocabulary, but because she had no idea what-so-ever of what she should write about. She wrote “Behold the hare with floppy ears, They’ve served him well these many years.” She knew that it was lousy! One day, during her lesson, she stood up and screamed at the poet, telling him that it was all a waste of time.

He rose, grasped her by the shoulders and gave her a kiss on the mouth. At first she resisted, but only slightly, and then something opened up inside her. It was as if she had been asleep her whole boring life and suddenly woke up! Her arms came up, her slender fingers running through his hair, pulling him closer to her. The kiss went on and on, and as her fingers caressed his face, she could feel him pulling her into him, not against him but into him, into his soul, into his heart. Finally, their lips parted. She could feel her heart pounding, could see the love in his eyes. He pulled back slightly, telling her that she had completed her lesson for the day.

As she made her way home, her heart and mind were filled with wondrous, glorious feelings. The air tasted sweet, the greens and browns of earth and leaf seemed more vibrant and the stirrings of the wind in the trees sounded like a chorus. Her step became lighter and, without warning, she broke into an effortless dance of joy. Suddenly, as her body moved to a secret music, she began to sing. Her voice and dance carried her home.

Over the next few days, her joy turned into anticipation. She thought again and again about the kiss, about the warmth of his moist lips against hers, about the light and look of his eyes, the sensation of being drawn into him. She began to paint that moment, first with small tentative strokes, then with bold ones with bold colours, not striving for realism but for passionate emotion. Days later, when it was finished, it was time for her to return to him for her next lesson.

As she walked the path to his home, she imagined what he would teach her next. She clutched her painting to her breast, picturing his expression when he unwrapped the gift. As she approached the house, she could almost smell his scent of leather and soap. Slowing her pace, her heart beating madly, she finally lay her hand on the door and pushed it open.

Inside, the room was bare. No quills, no bottles of ink, no books bound in leather, no smoking pipe by the chair. Empty. She dropped her painting and ran to the stable. His fine horse was gone too. Her hopes and dreams, her flights of fancy, all shattered.

It was then that she became a poet.

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Becoming A Poet”

  1. Ken Forbeson 19 Feb 2008 at 11:29 am

    Nicely written Sander! You do well with prose… on poetry or most any subject you put pen or keys to. Surprising ending and not at all what I expected.

    Thanks for the Puka Bar music email notices. I’m sorry that I missed the recent performance but from the description and pictures of the place on yelp.com, and LB POST, I must explore this Tiki treasure sometime, to both listen and, of course, taste the concoctions created there.

    Bye now. Keep me informed and continue creating….

    kenny, woodland, ca

  2. Katy Bon 19 Feb 2008 at 6:02 pm

    Interesting, but I dont’ think you have to have your heart broken to become a poet. It might make you more whiny, though.


  3. Jen Zenon 26 Feb 2008 at 12:25 pm

    Naive joy can be stupid – or poetic… more inspiring, brilliant and piercing than misplaced trust and betrayal. Wizdumb is not enough.

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