Sunday, March 17, 2013

Poetry Under the Moonlight

Two things I must admit; I'm not much of a fan of poetry, and I don't like Shakespeare.

Now that you've returned from writing me angry emails, I must say that despite my dislike of these two 'genres', I can still be lured in every once in a while by something excellent. There are of course passages in Shakespeare works that really do catch my attention, and though many people that know me will attest to my frequent rants involving the words 'Seamus Heaney' and 'bollocks', sometimes poetry can strike me. His works for example, are frequently beautiful and very visual, but to me, the only difference between 'short story' and 'poetry' is that the latter has rudely cracked sentences into a jumbled pile of imporoperly capitalised words.

I was surprised yesterday evening then, when I experienced something that gave me a subtle appreciation for poetry when it is read aloud. Perhaps it was the beer, which I don't usually drink, or the scene itself: two strangers, two berliner friends, and myself standing in a ring on the sidewalk after a pleasant evening of karaoke and under the clear, starry sky - but while chatting away to my comrades we were approached by a young man, his shaggy hair and attire befitting of his opening line.

"Hi guys, I'm a poet. Can I recite something of mine to you all?"

Though one of our party was too drunk to realise what was happening and turned away, the rest of us agreed. And so the recitation began.

Again, I must stress the cynic in me towards poetry here, but before I noticed it, in fact within two lines, this young poet somehow managed to do something amazing. He not only recited his work with the emotion and conviction of an artist, but he actually inspired me. No, I'm not going to go and start writing poetry. I still think it's the dung-encrusted sole on the foot of literature, but what I experienced was something highly romanticised. In my head, it conjured imagery of what I imagine many european cities may have been like at the turn of the last century. Some hidden, creative heart beating under the cobblestones by night. Passionate, talented young artists so excited by their work that they want to share it with anyone who will listen, even if that means meeting strangers on the streets under the moonlight to do so.

Now, given that he himself was so drunk that the poem dropped off half way through, I can't say that the ending was excellent, but this fellow put himself on the line and even though he failed in one way, he has no idea how successful he was in another. His story was nothing new; it was the same old garp about a woman loved and lost - but instead, what I saw was his love of words, and this I found far more interesting. It wasn't the subject, but the presentation - his excitement in sharing what he had created, that came across. He played with imagery, and sound, and subtlety, and used the garp story to create something far more alluring, and he loved every second of it.

To me, this small moment added something to Berlin, another angle that was really exciting and interesting, and I realised later that perhaps to truly inspire others, the subject is almost irrelevant - all one really needs to do is be passionate enough.



  1. I share your feelings about Shakespeare and poetry... although Joss Whedon adapted 'Much ado about nothing' and I am curious to see that. It's all still Shakespeare's dialogue but watching the trailer it seemed to make more sense to me than it has in the past (as in I could understand what they were saying).

  2. Oooh cool. Yeah that would be neat. It's always interesting to see how people adapt Shakespeare, especially nowdays as it's so important to make it more accessible. Whedon seldom disappoints!

    Have you seen Star Trek yet? :)

    Jimzip :D

  3. i have seen it and was pretty impressed by it... and I want to say why but am worried about spoiling the plot if you haven't seen it!
    ps. I want a blog post about eurovision adventures. :)