Monday, September 1, 2008

Edgar Allan Poet

“Quoth the Raven, ‘Nevermore.’”
--Edgar Allan Poe,
The Raven

The title of this post followed me home like a lost puppy. I knew it was a message from my GPS—God Positioning System—telling me I was supposed to go somewhere with this idea fragment.

As the poster girl for Follow Your Inner Guidance, I trusted and allowed myself to get sucked into the adventure. Here is what I’ve pieced together, so far.

Tracking the Mystery
Edgar Allan Poe was indeed a poet, among other things. I never knew he was credited with creating the detective-fiction writing genre, one I dabble in. (I like to say I write M-in-M’s for memoir, inspiration, and mystery.)

Mostly, he wrote a lot of dark, macabre stuff—also a lot about mourning. Not only have I experienced a lot of losses in the last year; I also realized this week how much I miss writing poetry. It was great to reconnect with some poets at a recent writers’ conference and to get reacquainted with my own poems. I wrote many of them in the ‘70s, when a number of them were published in various literary journals. I was into the local poetry scene, enjoyed reading my work at coffee houses, and taught in the Poetry in the Schools program.

I even met my first husband at a poetry reading. He was an angry heckler. When I moved into his building a few months later—a big surprise to us both—he was so nice to me, I didn’t even recognize him as the awful guy from that night. When he copped to it, I thought he had to be kidding. Love is blind.

Back to my visit from the muse bearing the nagging words in my head, “Edgar Allan Poet.” I suspect her point was stop mourning and start celebrating poetry again. How did I get to “nevermore” when it came to poems? I used to be ravenous about the genre. Heaven knows, I can always be reached by wordplay if all else fails or I have accidentally turned off my GPS.

Maybe I’ll start on the road back to poetry by sharing one of my poems from my archives with you. I found a more recent one (only 10 years old instead of 30). It even has a boomer theme. Here goes:

Poem by Joyce Mason

To My Childhood Friend at 50…

Where did the time go …
the bus stop …
old neighborhood …
avoiding Fran in the cafeteria …
dances at the ‘Y’, raging hormones, neuroses… acne?

Adolescence merged maturity,
not so much an off-ramp as an artery,
just another turn in the road,
a road not taken by most of us at heart
(we’re called baby boomers):
gray hair

Did you get your card from AARP?
Did you think you’d see the day?
Yet there is a freedom here:
a time to re-evaluate
to quit worrying over meaningless things
to know that we won’t be
in this bottleneck forever …

… and that, too, is a godsend.

Now, for the dreams not realized:
we still have time to catch up
without killing ourselves.

Before we go:
a book for me,
the starring performance for you …

… but above all, knowing
that if life is measured
by the friends we choose
and love we gain
we’re on the expressway
in the car pool lane.

Quote the Maven, Evermore
It’s clear; I still love poetry. Lots of people don’t, but poetry is all around us—songs, jingles, prayers, an especially good comeback. Some precocious pearl that pops from the lips of a child. Poetry all.

I’d love to hear your comments on poetry and things poetic—even if it’s only poetic justice. It doesn’t need rhyme or reason.

Think about this, too. Have you have said “nevermore” to certain passions of the past? Is it time to reconsider?


Anonymous said...

Welcome to the Boomer Diva Nation!

Great to meet you and to see your blog.

Cool thoughts, thanks.


Joyce Mason said...

Hi, Sally--and welcome to Hot Flashbacks, Cool Insights!

Glad to know you're a sister Diva. Quitting smoking at 28 years after 10 years of puffing like a steam engine was a major turning point of my life. I write about it in my memoir as one of my first deeply empowering experiences. I look forward to looking at your website and networking with you.


Pam Arche said...

I've never cared much for poetry, but I enjoy good writing, so I liked reading about you and your blog post. Welcome to Boomer Diva Nation

Pam Archer

Joyce Mason said...

Thanks, and great to meet you, Pam. Poetry isn't everyone's cup of coffee, as my mom used to say. (She didn't drink tea.) Glad you enjoyed your visit to Hot Flashbacks. Hope you'll come back often, and I also look foward to our Boomer Diva Nation connections.


Heidi Caswell said...

Been a long time since I've written any poetry, but do enjoy blogging when I get a chance. Such a creative outlet. Great to see you in the Diva group! Welcome.

Joyce Mason said...

Heidi, thanks for dropping in to say hello! I love blogging, and the Divas are divine. I appreciate your warm welcome.

Keep in touch!

PopArtDiva said...

Joyce - Welcome to the Divas, you're going to fit right in with your boomer memories and diva insights!

And I loved the title of your post - plus the poem!

I loved the post on Mel's too - right up my retro pop culture alley!

Oh, I have to laugh - the captcha for me to post this is "gruvyco"
Groovy Co, lol!

Joyce Mason said...

Thank you, Ms. Pop Art! Can't wait to dig into those sites of yours, a visual splendor on first look that begs for a long stay later. You are fun jumping off the page! I look forward to getting to know you better--and for others reading these comments, if you haven't quite figured out just what is this Boomer Diva Nation, visit this "outta site" on my blog roll!

Smiling till my face hurts,

Melodieann said...

Welcome to the Divas! I love my poetry! (Being the daughter of an award-winning poet makes that sort of a requirement!). I have tried to write some myself, but the poetry writing gene seems to have skipped this boomer gal. Looking forward to getting to know you better and especially to reading more of your poems.

Joyce Mason said...

Melodieann, write me an e-mail sometime when you get a chance and tell me more about your award-winning poet Pop! I tend to agree that poetry seems to be "in you" or not. I don't know many people who pursue learning it; it just seems to come from within. But it's just one of so many genres of writing and self-expression. Here's to variety, that yummy spice of life. Thanks for gracing my pages with your upbeat energy.

Look forward to continuing our connection,

Anonymous said...

Loved your poetic tribute to turning fifty and a friendship that obviously lasted for many years. Yes, growing older can have a few rough patches but there are so many wonderful aspects to being a woman of a certain age. Long lived friendships are the best part!