An Evolving Post: From Mishmash to Conversation Poems

There are many ideas running through my head this Friday morning. But, none seem worth writing about. It’s been a busy week. We’ve seen several people we haven’t seen in a year or more. I had lunch out with a friend yesterday. Then, I used the afternoon to pot up some of my annuals and I put in some carrot and beet seeds. We had one of my husband’s co-workers stop this morning for coffee – imagine my surprise when I came out to the kitchen after I got up and found we had company! And, I’m also getting ready for my first craft show in several years. I had forgotten how much work it is, but I am happy to be doing it. And, the week started by helping one of our sons with a car problem that luckily will be fully covered under warranty.

Needless to say, I have not gotten a lot of writing done. I plan to change that next week.

But, in talking with all these different people, I’ve also thought a lot about conversational style again. Starting last Thursday, when we went out to dinner one of our sons girlfriend’s parents, I’ve enjoyed various conversations and the styles of those doing the conversing. I very much enjoyed the conversation that night and recognized that it was different (better) than some of the conversations I had been having during the pandemic.

Naturally, conversational styles vary from person to person. Personally, I like a good, deep conversation with thoughtful questions and answers. Obviously, not all conversations require deep thought. However, all should require good listening skills. Responses to statements or questions should indicate the person with whom you are talking to is listening. Solutions or alternative solutions do not have to be offered, and in fact, might not be warranted or wanted.

I am a thinker – meaning I think a lot about life, situations, and how to handle things. Therefore, I really do not need someone to offer an alternative way of responding to those situations; chances are, I’ve already considered it. If I want advice, I’ll ask for it. And, I do so. I regularly run things by my husband, my sons, and my sister. I ask friends who have the same interests, like gardening, questions about their approach to spring planting or foraging or species identification. I do appreciate advice when someone can directly relate to the situation I am describing in conversation.

I try to stay away from volatile topics such as politics or religion, or even issues surrounding the pandemic and healthcare. There are other things worth talking about. These topics include books, cooking, gardening, and other hobbies. It is so gratifying to have a good conversation.

I’ve noted over the last year, the conversations my husband and I have gotten better and better. We can discuss topics about our future, things we need to get done, and how we might handle challenges as they arise without friction or being pressed for time, as sometimes happened when he was working, the boys were still at home, or my volunteering schedule was overbooked.

I think humans need to work on conversations more. It will help us to understand each other, our diversity, and our needs. I know that the greatest joy I’ve had since the pandemic has become more manageable is to once again have some varied conversations.

Since it is Poetry Friday and the topic of conversation was high in my mind, I wondered if there were conversational poems. And, in fact, there are! Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth were two poets that wrote conversational poems. These poems have a set of characteristics that can be found here, in an online article by Pen and Pad.

Coleridge’s 1798 poem Frost at Midnight is arguably thought of as the best of the conversational poems. His words are directed at his silent listener, Coleridge’s infant son. My attraction to this poem is Coleridge’s belief that a child should be raised in the countryside – in nature. You might be familiar with another of his poems called The Nightengale: A Conversation Poem. Wordsworth and Coleridge were friends. Flow or rhythm (specifically, iambic pentameter) is emphasized over rhyme in these poems which also fits with how I taught poetry to my young writer’s club students. Believe me, their relief was palpable!

Conversation is an important piece of our humanity. Let’s use it wisely!

Rocky Mountain National Park, © Carol Labuzzetta, 2012.

Today is Poetry Friday. The host for the round up this week is Irene Latham at Live Your Poem. Thank you to Irene for hosting!

5 thoughts

  1. I like all those endearing wishes Coleridge has for his new one: “Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,” and the rest. I’ve been fortunate to have conversations during this strangest of years with people at the bookstore where I work and with my son and daughter on the phone. You’re right! It’s good to make the best of talks in certain topics, to avoid the others! Have a lovely weekend!

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