In Praise of Poets


Sam Walter Foss

Maya Angelou was a shining example of a writer who could write both prose and poetry and make each form of writing blend into the other. Her words were like liquid gold and they poured off the written page and into the readers' hearts and minds.


Other examples of poetic prose are by: Dylan Thomas, Shakespeare and Khalil Gibran. If you have not yet read his work: The Prophet - I urge you too - it's a beautiful and thought-provoking read.


I began writing poems long before I started writing prose - I was around 5 or 6 years old. I loved the sing-song quality of poems and voraciously read all of the poem compilations that I could find.


If you have never tried writing a poem, have a go today and see how far you get with it - it does not have to rhyme - contrary to popular thinking. It can be two sentences long or many, many more.


There really are no rules to modern day poems - just experiment and have a play around with the words.


Pick your favourite subject, write down some words that you associate with that subject and try to include one of those words on each line of your poem.


This is one of my favourite poems. As you read it, notice it's song-like quality. It could almost be a lyric.


The House By The Side Of The Road 


There are hermit souls that live withdrawn In the place of their self-content; There are souls like stars, that dwell apart, In a fellowless firmament; There are pioneer souls that blaze the paths Where highways never ran- But let me live by the side of the road And be a friend to man.


Let me live in a house by the side of the road Where the race of men go by- The men who are good and the men who are bad, As good and as bad as I. I would not sit in the scorner's seat Nor hurl the cynic's ban- Let me live in a house by the side of the road And be a friend to man.


I see from my house by the side of the road By the side of the highway of life, The men who press with the ardor of hope, The men who are faint with the strife, But I turn not away from their smiles and tears, Both parts of an infinite plan- Let me live in a house by the side of the road And be a friend to man.


I know there are brook-gladdened meadows ahead, And mountains of wearisome height; That the road passes on through the long afternoon And stretches away to the night. And still I rejoice when the travelers rejoice And weep with the strangers that moan, Nor live in my house by the side of the road Like a man who dwells alone.


Let me live in my house by the side of the road, Where the race of men go by- They are good, they are bad, they are weak, they are strong, Wise, foolish - so am I. Then why should I sit in the scorner's seat, Or hurl the cynic's ban? Let me live in my house by the side of the road And be a friend to man.


Sam Walter Foss

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