“Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history.” — Plato
April is National Poetry Month. Throughout the country, colleges and universities, elementary and secondary schools, libraries and various publications have hosted poetry readings or featured unpublished poets. In the past, I have used this column to encourage readers to write their own poems. It’s a way of self-expression that allows each of us to explore the truth inside us, and the realities of this planet and the human condition.
Now some may think that poetry is for eggheads. Not true. It is for anyone who dares put pen to paper and let his or her thoughts flow.
One of my favorite forms of poetry is the limerick. That’s a short rhyme, usually expressing humor or a more pointed truth. Here is one some may remember from their school days:
There was a young lady of Niger
Who smiled as she rode on a tiger
They returned from the ride
With the lady inside
And the smile on the face of the tiger
Just for kicks, I scribbled my own limerick while writing this. It’s a bit more serious than the lady and the tiger, but I had fun with it:
There was once an old man from our town
Who prayed to God for a crown
Each Sunday he prayed in Heaven to dwell
But, at his end, his week day sins, I do tell
Sent him kicking and screaming straight to Hell
Well, it wasn’t quite in the form of the first little rhyme, but who cares? I had fun with it anyway. The point is that poems let us say in very few words what might otherwise take a book to explain. In a way, they are like pictures. As they say, you know, “one picture is worth a thousand words.”