On poetry and capitalism

I love writing poetry as much as I hate reading it. Other people’s that is. I don’t understand it, it confuses me and I don’t have the patience. I can count on one hand, the poems of the great poets that I truly like. This got me wondering whether this was specific to me, to poetry or to the arts.

There are countless examples of music superstars that never went to music school and business leaders that never went to business school. Fits in well with what some spiritual traditions (and these days self-help gurus) say about knowledge being something that is ‘realised’ versus ‘acquired’. It would appear then, that excellence in and passion for something is more about unlocking your natural abilities rather than seeking to build a skill set. I.e. inspiration should be sought within, not outside.

That is not to say that outside factors can’t inspire or help build talent, for they certainly can. It is just to say that inner inspiration seems to be the key ingredient, whether it is ignited by outside factors or already there on its own.

In that sense, poetry and capitalism share something profound in common – the encouragement of individual systems of inspiration and imagination. Though the success of the direction the two have taken could be considered to be up for debate. Capitlism has led to social and economic advancements as disruptive thoughts and ideas take firm shape in new products, tehcnologies and processes.

Poetry, on the other hand has gone from rhyming and syllable-counting to free verse which can be a disappointing attempt at moving out of the ‘prose’ section. To avoid igniting the fury of the individual thought system of the free verse poet, I should clarify that this is a highly subjective (and rather tongue-in-cheek) opinion. I quite like my poems to rhyme here and there. But that’s just my personal, individual view.


Paris encore

The rooftops light up like every morning;

Her charm intact, untouched for a thousand miles.

Stone shimmers on like white wine in the sun,

But it’s clear she’s missing a half smile.

The same assortment of mispronounced roads

Leading to the same architecture ‘artisanal’.

But less foreign gasps at the much postcard-ed views;

Less people to watch and directions to tell.

She is strong enough to move on but worries

That the wound will fester and the pain won’t end.

But as she dusts herself off and takes a step at a time

She’ll only see a scar that reminds of her strength.

Modern Day ‘If’

Original by Rudyard Kipling – rewritten for comic effect (with apologies to the writer). Suggest the reader first reads the original here:  http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/175772 

If you can keep your values when all about you

Are losing theirs and wondering why aren’t you,

If you can not “check-in” when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not jump on online dating,

Or if you do join up, don’t deal in lies,

Or being ‘passed’, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t call too much, nor text too wise.

If you can post – and not make FB your master;

If you can think- and not make Twitter-ing your aim;

If you can meet on Skype or Google Hangouts

And treat those two imposters just the same;

If you can bear to see the tweet you’ve tweeted

Retweeted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the start-up you gave your life to, go unseeded,

And apply to Google or Uber or business schools.

If you can make one heap of all your Chanel

And give it in one turn to the Red Cross,

Or lose all your air-miles and start at nil

And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your Amex and Visa cards

To serve their turn long after the money’s gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in your bank account

Except the Will which says to the bank: ‘Hold on!’

If you can party all night and keep your virtue,

Or fly first class—nor lose the common touch,

If no ‘friend request’ accepted or rejected can hurt you,

If all Friends count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of meditation not texts,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And—which is more—you’ll be a bit wiser than the rest!