In 1777, around the time of the American Revolution, Thomas Paine wrote, “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” Are you finding these time trying, annoying, or deadly?
Do you remember studying about “Common Sense” in American History class? Essays and collections of essays were common during that period of our country’s history. People wrote to express opinions and persuade others to believe as they did. Thomas Paine was expressing his opinion in emotional essays. Now essays aren’t as popular. Television commentators present opinions about the news more than the actual news.
Florida Poet Laureate, Peter Meinke, says the times that try men’s souls (I would add and women’s souls) are times that result in the writing of poetry. Many people wrote poetry after 911. During war, many turn to poetry to express their emotions.
Narrative poems tell a story. In contrast, lyric poetry expresses emotion. Songs have lyrics, and are a form of poetry.
If you find the times trying, you might want to write a lyric poem or lyrics to a song. Rather than getting into political fights with friends on Facebook, try writing and posting the lyrics to a song or a lyrical poem. Let your emotions flow, but write in a non-confrontational manner.
Read Amy Lowell’s poem titled “Patterns” and Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem “The Charge of the Light Brigade” and notice the difference in attitude each poet is expressing. How do their views on war differ? Try to write a poem that expresses your emotions about recent events without stating them outright. That’s what I’m doing these days.
Thank you for visiting my blog. Hope to see some of your poems online soon.