THE MADNESS OF POETRY

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I had sent my newly published poetry book to my friend, John, someone I have known for many years. Weeks later, I asked if he had received it, and what he thought of the book.

He responded with, “I have been rather absorbed in my own world which has been a struggle. I have been sick with walking pneumonia and yet am still working daily. I am on a bunch of medication, which doesn’t leave me with the clearest head. When not working, I am sleeping. Am slowly getting better but about four days bed rest would be ideal. I can’t afford to miss work so, you know the drill. I’m tired, sick, frustrated, but still fighting.”

He went on to explain, “Poetry has never been my strong suit. You are certainly elegant with words. I can appreciate the flowery wording but feel like I am missing something, and that applies to all poetry not just yours. I feel embarrassed to admit that it seems to have crashed over my head like a huge wave at the beach. It takes some doing to overcome the feeling that I am too dumb for this.”

John revealed more as the conversation continued. “A couple of the poems were almost frightening in their intensity. I could sense the emotion behind it, but I felt like such an outsider. Then it dawned on me; I am an outsider, but you are trying to provide a window for me. Stop feeling like a peeping tom and enjoy the view. I can so over-complicate things.”

He messaged me later with more thoughts. “I reached another realization. There was much mention of family and closeness. I realized I was somewhat jealous because my family is tiny with no closeness whatsoever. In defense against those feelings, I put up a wall against your poems. It is painful to read about something I can’t experience. I am happy you have it but sad that I don’t. As I have and accept these awakenings, I may be able to better appreciate your poetry.”

Well, here is my take on all this.

First, you learn so much from the other end of the author journey, once you have released your first book child into the world. (Yes, these books are our children. Any writer can tell you this. We give birth to them. We send them out into the world. We worry about them, protect them, defend them.)

I have had people apologize to me for not having read the book yet, although they instantly bought it to support my efforts. I get it. I buy books all the time to help the authors who wrote them, and these books sit in line for a good long time on my Kindle.

Next, you do need a clear head for reading, especially poetry. You are reading between the lines of someone else’s fleeting thoughts and trying to process their meaning.

John thought he was raining on my parade with these remarks. He wasn’t. After decades of hoarding my work, I am happy to have put myself out there. This is merely a starting point. While I have been at this long enough to feel confident that I know what I’m doing, I see no reason to expect everyone to understand and love everything I have to say. It surprises me more that so many people, including strangers, continue to tell me how much they love and enjoy the poems.

John may be someone who feels poetry is not his strong suit, yet he expressed his thoughts beautifully and while he thinks he is “too dumb,” he is rather insightful. His assessment was relevant and helpful, because he is not alone in his feelings. Most of us want to love poetry. We associate it with romance. Much of it is introspective, like glimpsing into a diary. Sometimes we get it, yes, and sometimes we don’t.

Many poets are intentionally cryptic. Others don’t intend to be vague but, as they say; poets are artists painting with words and yes, we distort everything and can make deep-wrenching heartbreak a thing of beauty.

Then there is the perception factor. This had me thinking of the time my professor in college asked our class to write an interpretation of William Butler Yeats’ The Coming of Wisdom with Time. He gave me an A on the assignment then scribbled something unsettling, in red ink, in the right margin. What he said was, “This is a wonderful explanation of what the poem meant to you, but I was asking what the poem meant to the poet.” My thought was, yeah good luck with that.

In my poetry, John got this impression of a happy family with happy memories. Others I spoke with perceived a very deep sadness. People interpret things differently. We are all in different places, consciously and subconsciously. People have misinterpreted me, just as I have misinterpreted others. The poet is not usually there to explain it to you. Poetry is about what resonates with the reader, what strikes a chord and why, be it negative or positive. It’s about stimulation of thoughts, realizations, and reflections. It is often a soul experience, triggering emotions, and it is bound to be intense.

As I stated in the book’s Preface, I wrote those poems over a few decades where my perception had gone in different directions. I wrote many of them in my twenties. I mixed the good with the bad, the light with the dark. Some things healed and resolved in the end. Some didn’t.

Shutting down is one of the responses people can have in reading (and listening). Some are discouraged by an opposing perception. It took me a long time to feel secure enough in my beliefs to listen to different opinions with an open mind, to look at things from another perspective without fear. Often I am able to understand and sometimes agree. I had to get beyond this feeling that a person could take something away from me that had no substance to begin with—or that I could be wrong. With all this progress, however, there are deal breakers. Mine include justification of rape, violence, and oppression. We all have deal breakers. We are also triggered by the memories of our life experience. Another’s opposing view, however, can take away only illusions. It cannot take away what is real.

I appreciate John’s honesty. I will take that any day over:

“What’s wrong?”
“Nothing… I love you dearly!”
Then the passive aggressive behavior continues.

No, give me honesty. When people are honest, they present us with a gift of teaching us what we need to know or reminding us of what we tend to forget.

As if we need reminding, life sucks at times, and people may be struggling to get through the moment. I have no idea what is going on with another unless I ask.

John, thank you. I hope you feel better now.

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IT’S HALLOWEEN!

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Like many of you, I love Halloween! I have fond memories of past Halloweens and get excited about it in every new season.

We did a Halloween show on ‘Heart-to-Heart with Kyrian’ tonight and here is the podcast if you’d like to hear it. It was silly fun, and we enjoyed it.

During the show, I read from Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Raven’. However, another of my favorite poems to set the mood for Halloween is ‘Darkness’ by Lord Byron.

Finally, here is a poem from me. I wrote it many years ago while visiting a friend in Richmond, Virginia. It was the 30th of October, and Halloween was certainly in the air.

The Eve

Tree after tree, in mere flashes,
Pulled onward so quickly on wheels.
An endless cavity,
A hollow place on a hillside.
Very dark, very black night,
The eve of All Saints Day in Richmond.
Secluded place of abode
Amid a forest of woody-trunked perennials—
I am the diminutive Hansel in the infinite forest!
I come upon a candle-lit haunt of mere shadows.
My eyes wander toward a mysterious and welcoming stairway
Leading to grand doors,
Silent and slightly ajar.
Peering through the open space,
All I see is blackness.
And seated there, on the floor,
In a corner where the candle seems to grow more in tensely,
The gourd-like fruit painted orange
Has a cocky, twisted grin.
Come morning,
Peering out the window,
All is calm
As sun shines
Upon the autumn leaves,
The abandoned rake,
And the green toolshed with chips in the painting.

Kyrian Lyndon

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Stay safe!

‘The Eve’* © August 14, 2014 kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

*’The Eve’ is included in ‘A Dark Rose Blooms’. For a limited time, you can get ‘A Dark Rose Blooms’ in paperback for $5.28 and the Kindle version for only $.99. They are both available here: A Dark Rose Blooms on Amazon.com

A DARK ROSE BLOOMS WORLDWIDE RELEASE

Such sweet memories I recall
When the sun blinds my eye,
And bluebirds of joy and contentment cry.
The ones that are cold,
Frightening omens foretold,
I want to make them slip away,
Yet they’ll haunt me night and day.

Kyrian Lyndon

‘A Dark Rose Blooms’ available now on Amazon.com


For years, I have been hard at work on a fiction series that will include up to nine books. Since the series has been my main focus, I’ve been tempted to warn people ‘A Dark Rose Blooms’ is just a poetry book. Then I remember an older woman who had corrected me years ago as a teen when I said I was just a secretary. She said forget that word “just.” Just forget it.

She was right about that. I couldn’t imagine a world without poetry any more than I can imagine a world without novels. Its value is more than enough.

I was thinking, however, this seems to be a huge deal for such a little book. It is little. It was easy to throw together. I had all these poems sitting around for decades.

Well, it turned out to be a very special undertaking. I wrote some of these poems at age twenty, others only months ago. I came to realize, too; I was sharing my heart. For that matter, I would also be sharing the first two chapters of the first book in my series.

So by the time Jeff Fielder began working on the cover design, I wanted amazing. And I got amazing in terms of Jeff’s formatting and design. It’s now a beautiful little book.

I know my mom, of all people, would have been thrilled to see this day. She tucked away the first poems I wrote at ages ten and thirteen. Every so often, she’d take them out and read them, smiling and shaking her head, sometimes laughing a little. She passed away three years ago, but I can still see her smiling. I can feel it in my heart.

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© Copyright October, 2014 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

‘A Dark Rose Blooms’ cover design by Jeffrey Allen Fielder © Shutterstock 2014

HAPPY FALL

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Ode to Autumn
by John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twinéd flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barréd clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

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John Keats is one of my favorite poets and for most of my life, fall was my favorite season.

I grow more resistant to the dark evenings of fall as I get older and more inclined to embrace the endless light of summer. However, autumn would not be the same with infinite light and glorious sun, would it? It is a cozy time of cool breezes, warm fires, and precious memories. The darkness, while haunting and a bit unsettling, has its mesmeric beauty.

The video below shows the splendor of fall with audio of Eva Cassidy’s spellbinding voice in ‘Falling Leaves’, a song about autumn and loss. For me, it is bittersweet. My husband died young on a summer day. I can relate to this sentiment—saying goodbye to two seasons. As I parted with a season of light, I parted, too, with a season of love. It is the end of a time and a necessary rebirth, yes bittersweet but beautiful.

Happy Fall!

MANGLED WINGS

Adversity is the first path to truth.” Lord Byron

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Mangled Wings

Weary of all the conjecture, the slants,
Belly full of trite and typical rants.
It’s enough for the troubled, the broken,
Who have to amend it with so little spoken.
Die trying while you wait for the bomb;
Pray for the respite of happy and calm.
Fly out in euphoric bliss, dance of death,
On days it is torture to merely draw breath.
Eyes nearly close, tresses whirl in the breeze;
Touch my face, then graze my lips and appease.
We must embrace these things we abhor.
Rise up, rise up—
Mangled wings need to soar.

From ‘A Dark Rose Blooms’
A poetry book by Kyrian Lyndon

*****


Mangled Wings © Copyright 2006 kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved.