We pay ourselves a disservice every time we dismiss poetry as a lump sum. Oh, I don’t like poetry. Really? None of it? It’s as strange a statement as saying you don’t like music (nope, not one note). But we don’t say strange things like that about music, because for the most part we’re equipped with sufficient acoustic literacy to recognize genres, make aesthetic judgments, and sort out what is pleasing from what is displeasing to our ears.
With poetry, such facility is hardly the standard, and that’s OK—I’ve no illusions about poems suddenly gaining top-40 appeal. But I do secretly suspect that somewhere out there, there’s a poem or a poet that would tickle everyone’s fancy, as instantly and effortlessly as you know that you love a certain song the first time you hear it play. Encountering a few poems, however, and then dismissing the entire field, seems a bit like scanning the radio for a few minutes and then deciding all this noise, this so-called music, is not for you.
The loss, of course, isn’t that people might miss out on poetry; certainly not everybody must have affection for every single art. It’s that the broad-stroke dismissal throws a hurdle up between people and great thinkers like Mary Oliver, whose work would otherwise most likely startle, electrify, and delight .
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."