I have always loved poetry. As a boy growing up we as a family did not have any wealth in a material sense. We survived of course. What we did have in plenty was of course love; the selfless love of the immediate and extended family. In a material sense I count myself lucky because we had books. My father had a thing about books and when he had a few bob to spare in the better days he foraged around markets and antiquarian book sellers picking up all sorts of gems.  Our bookcase at home boasted all the classics, books on ancient civilisation, plays, novels, history, religion, dictionaries, and of course lots of poetry.

I was never that fond of school work or doing homework. I covered the bases all right and took some paint of the keel occasionally as I struggled to survive but I was easily distracted by things external to the home (I grew up during the oddly termed ‘Troubles’ up North) and things internal-which meant getting distracted into reading everything that I wasn’t supposed to. That in itself raises wider issues for debate, prime amongst which is the fundamental problem with what is contained in the typical school curriculum. That is not what I want to write about today however.  I want to write about poetry.

Those millions of you who regularly pay me a blog visit will know that I attempt to scribe the odd verse. On the evidence to date-no massive amount of comments-my efforts are clearly meeting with limited success. But that’s not the issue you see. I write the poetry for me. It is therapeutic in the physician heal thyself sort of way. Poetry provides freedom. It allows you to break rules. You can say things. You can make statements. You can convey a message to just one person. You can reflect your mood. Poetry can be fun, happy, autobiographical, an exploration of thought, a postulation and test of theory and thesis. Yes, poetry is therapeutic.

What I like most about my own experience of poetry is that I cannot ever force it. I don’t preplan what I write ever. If inspiration strikes me for whatever reason I find a pen and a scrap of paper and like a body inhabited by some alien being I write. And I write freely. Always unencumbered by the limitations and conventions that would govern the communications that characterise my average day. It is the literary equivalent of a life on the ocean wave. It is free wheeling your bike down a fecund and verdant glen with the wind and sun in your face and the colour and bucolic smells of springtime filling your nostrils. It is total exhilaration. Sometimes it is a darker journey around fretful corners with disregarding oncoming traffic and darkness closing in. But it is always an exciting journey. Life on the edge.

I am lucky in that my own poetic journey started in the home. I was subject to many influences, I had the good company of  many poetry books and most significantly I had a copy of some poems written by an Uncle who was dead several years before I was born, all of which helped to sate my appetite for the poetic muse. In that respect I was rich. Lucky and rich.

As I was walking near my home on Saturday I was struck by the contrast between the warm sun of an Indian summer and the richening colours and shades of autumn. I love that autumn feeling and if there is a season for the romantic poet surely but surely it kicks off in September in a quickening and loudening fanfare of bright colour and wind-laden music.

And I will conclude with an appropriate autumnal quote from one of my favourite  Romantic Poets , John Keats:

‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;’

I have to dash…budding and struggling poet in urgent need of paper and pen!

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