Beginning the End of Poetry
The preparations for those pink folded papers passed around gymnasiums, concert and assembly halls by the thousand on an early June afternoon were the beginning of the end for poetry. We knew them all; those lines, those lives, those moments that caused the poets to write, and boy could we recite these meanings and understandings into a three page pre-prepared essay on an aspect of the lifestyle of the circus animal following its much discussed desertion, a question recycled and redrawn based on so many considerations before.
If I were preparing for the leaving certificate again I would stage my assault on the poetry section differently. I would start by finding a bar, a stage, and strangers all in the same place. I would sit there not expecting much but talking with said strangers enjoying their company, their tales and their interest in mine. Then if they stood up to read a poem or two I would listen and not know anything about their lines, their lives, their moments that caused them to write.
I would drink with these people and argue with these people and I would walk down the street with these people and I would eat with these people and possibly even sleep with these people and if I were able to I would leave these people to go and write my own poem. And then, eventually, I would sit down in some examination hall and answer the question put before me, something about analysing the poem thematically and symbolically with refernece to something or another.
That voiceless paper would be a new device. The signifier of all the vice that caused the poet to write. The lines would need little explanation.