Saturday, October 15, 2005

For My Contemporaries by J.V. Cunningham

For My Contemporaries

How time reverses
The proud in heart!
I now make verses
Who aimed at art.

But I sleep well.
Ambitious boys
Whose big lines swell
With spiritual noise,

Despise me not,
And be not queasy
To praise somewhat:
Verse is not easy.

But rage who will.
Time that procured me
Good sense and skill
Of madness cured me.

I'm sure that every one of you in this class can relate to this poem. I definitely can. Through eloquence, Cunningham explains the difficulty involved in writing prose. I like the way Cunningham writes of writing verses "who aimed at art." This really vocalizes the challenge in writing quality, and not just writing anything. This marks the difference that exists between just writing verses, or actually writing art. In the second stanza, I find it interesting how Cunningham criticizes poets who attempt to be spiritual and intricately eloquent calling their work "spiritual noise", noise giving the notion of unpleasantness, alot going on, but nothing worthwhile. After this criticism, however, Cunningham gives way to more of the role of a wise educator, giving his 'contemporaries' a break by stating "verse is not easy". He then comforts us and urges us to continue in our poetic quest by telling us that he was once a challenged poet like we are, but with much time devoted to the poetic cause, he had developed good sense and skill. I think that this poem can serve to give hope to any poet attempting to write through a mental block, and achieve a work of poetry that is more than just verse, but becomes that glorious thing we call art.


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