April is National Poetry Month. Now, I happen to love poetry. It is fascinating to me that you can say so much by saying so little, while really delving into the psyche through an honest display of emotion. However, I have found that not everyone enjoys poetry the way I do. For some, even the word poetry drags up boring lectures about how a butterfly represents the metamorphosis of existence in the temporal field. (Yeah, I don’t even know what I just said.)
If this sounds like you, don’t despair. Here are five poets and their poems that I guarantee even people who hate poetry will like and understand. These are poems that are easy to read, tell a wonderful story and will maybe even make you laugh.
“The Man from Snowy River” tells the story of a group of men who are following a mob of wild bush horses to recover the colt from Old Regret, who was worth a thousand pounds. Though they don’t think much of the Man from Snowy River who comes to help them or his small mountain bred pony, this mountain man chases the horses relentlessly and brings them in singlehandedly. The ballads and poetry of Andrew Barton “Banjo” Paterson are said to have captured the spirit of the Australian Outback. His ballad “Waltzing Matilda” is Australia’s unofficial national anthem and “The Man from Snowy River” was turned into a film in 1982, starring Kirk Douglas.
“Entertaining her Big Sister’s Beau” is a funny, one-sided conversation a precocious little girl has with her big sister’s date, reminding you that kids do indeed say the darndest things. I first read this poem in an old English textbook that my mother kept, and I used the poem for poetry readings at dramatic competitions. Now, I wish I had kept that old textbook, as this poem is very difficult to find. Thank goodness I made a copy of it. Now, I just have to remember where I put it.
Anyone who believes that poetry has too many rules should read e.e. cummings, the ultimate rebel poet, and of course, the world’s best poetic metaphor, “she being brand new.” Don’t be discouraged by the fact that the poem is a metaphor. Read it once and if you don’t get it right away (due to e.e.’s odd use of punctuation), have someone read it to you. Believe me, you won’t be able to stop smiling.
If that title won’t get you to read this poem, then I don’t know what will. “Another Reason Why I Don’t Keep a Gun in the House” is a fun poem about the neighbor’s dog that will not stop barking and what the narrator does to counteract this disturbance. Billy Collins uses his dry sense of humor to make his poetry not only amusing, but also relatable. No wonder he was the Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003.
5. Fleas, by Ogden Nash
The complete poetic genius of “Fleas” can only be understood by looking at the entire poem.
That’s it. What more can you say? Ogden rocks.
So, if you felt animosity
Toward any type of poetry,
I hope these poems helped you see
You don’t have to be vexed
At all the subtext
Sometimes a flea is a flea.