No Bull, Just Poetry.

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I hated poetry at school. I remember sitting at the table, surrounded by classmates, reciting poems together and discussing what the poems meant. Why was the toast burnt? Why did he say everything in the room was grey? What did she really mean when she wrote it was raining outside? As if there needs to be a profound reason why it rains in England.

But poetry isn’t meant for some pedestal reserved for mystery. It’s not something that needs or demands analysis to understand. It’s an expression. An ability to move someone from one state to another. Something I didn’t figure out until way after I graduated.

And by that definition, everything became poetry.

Eden Hazard dancing his way through the West Ham defence in 2016. Carlos Santana playing his guitar in ‘The Healer’. Marco Pierre White turning raw eggs into an omelette. Hamilton swinging his Merc through Maggotts, Becketts and Chapel at Silverstone. Senna in Monaco. Her laugh. Being deep in the depths of a conversation: the sparks, the passion, the tone, the rhythm, the adventure.

When Hemingway was writing, he said if it was snowing in the place he was writing, the place in the story was usually snowing, too. There’s nothing profound about that. It’s just that in life it snows sometimes. And when I read Frank O’Hara’s poems, again, there’s nothing innately profound about them. Each poem in “Meditations in an Emergency” is like a gust of wind passing by. A brief look into the moments in life one may never think twice about but should. They’re raw and real.

No pretentiousness. No bull. Just poetry.

And if you don’t get it, there’s no impending judgment or bad grade for that. Because maybe the room was grey because it hadn’t been decorated yet. Maybe it was just raining. But some people are so desperate for meaning they’ll impose it onto anything they can or force you to find it. I think that’s why I hated it at school: because there’s little more nonsensical than being forced to understand something before you’ve lived it.

The best things don’t ask to be judged and people are wise to steer clear from judging them. Either you haven’t lived it or you have. If you haven’t, then how could you know how it feels? How could you know better? And if you have, then you know the feeling is often beyond articulation or understanding. But it’s in the human condition to try.

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