Monday, April 7, 2014

New Addition to the Online Portfolio

Just a little heads-up that I put a new poem on my online portfolio (which you can access via the tab at the top of this page).

The poem is tentatively titled "Mardi" (if George Lucas can edit his films as much as he does, I'm allowed to change the titles of my poems a few times).

Go ahead and read it real quick, and then I'll say just a little bit about it.

No, go ahead, it's okay. I'll wait for ya.

Didja read it? Cool!

So I gotta admit, I don't usually put a ton of effort into poems, even if I'm turning them in for a class. Poems for me are often just a dump of emotion using pretty words. When I write in free verse, it often ends up being some kind of stream of consciousness.

I actually put a decent bit of effort into this one, though.

The assignment was to find something out in the outside and use it to show an inner truth about ourselves. I'm not sure whether I showed an inner truth about myself or just confused a bunch of the truths about myself, but I'm happy with the way it turned out.

It was something that had been brewing in my mind for a while, just waiting for the right opportunity to come out. The poem is based on my experience marching in the Knights of Revelry Mardi Gras parade in Mobile, Alabama. I went with my university's marching band. Mobile is a pretty cool city. It's kind of got a New Orleans feel to it, except it's much more family-friendly. Mobile is actually where Mardi Gras as we know it in the U.S. began. Beads grow on trees there. Well, I mean, sort of. They're really just stuck there from past years. But it looks like they grown on trees.

For the entire duration of the parade (and I do not exaggerate), there was rain and freezing rain. Thankfully, I had a warm layer underneath my uniform and a poncho on top to keep most of the rain off, but it was still just a little bit miserable. I was really surprised that there were still a ton of people there to watch the parade. Despite the weather, I had a fantastic time. As we drove back home, the sentence "The rain can't stop the revelry" just kind of popped into my head, and I absolutely loved the way it sounded, and I knew that some kind of poem had to happen.

I tried writing in free verse at first, but it wasn't really working out. I ended up changing to a fixed meter based on "The rain can't stop the revelry" and picked a rhyme scheme that felt right. I didn't want it to sound too jingly or cutesy, but I think it worked out okay. I actually revised my first draft of the poem a lot. I read it out loud several times and changed things that just didn't sound right in my mind or to my ear. The final product is something I'm extremely happy with, and it got a good reception in class.

The poem is about the rain's failure to kill the Mardi Gras spirit. It's something I found very admirable and impressive in the residents of Mobile. However, during the class period in which I presented the poem, my professor and classmates pointed out that rain can also represent cleansing, which takes on Biblical connotations when it happens right before Lent. So in a way, the poem could also be about the human inability to shake off sin and whatnot while on Earth. Those two readings kind of conflict a little, cause a little confusion. Maybe the point of the poem is that the whole life/death/heaven/earth/sin/cleanliness/revelry/good behavior thing is confusing.

Okay. I'm the poet. I ought to know what the poet's real meaning is.

My intended meaning was the inability of the rain to quench the crowd's spirit. But to be honest, I enjoy the confusion that arises from multiple readings. Probably a little more than I should. I'm open to other interpretations. If you have thoughts of your own, feel free to post them in the comments.

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