Here's a poet I love - former American Laureate Billy Collins. Mostly because he has a sense of humour. His poems are tongue-in-cheek meditations on life and pretty self-deprecating most of the time. But within the wit, there lies wisdom.
Billy Collins is definitely a poet for people who think poetry is pompous. He likes to mock this notion to no end. The poem below is a good example of this. In it he ridicules gloomy mopey poets and poems, preferring instead the infectious simple glee of real life. And maintains how poetry should be a medium for exploring this joy rather than the stereotypical despair so associated with it. Here, here I say!!
And on a beautiful sunny day like today, there's poetry enough in the golden-lit scenes and how light falls like grace on surroundings... but to accentuate it, the last verse of this poem is perfect.
(And in testament to the Collins effect, it's surely impossible to refrain from yelling out 'yee-hah' at the end in unison with the sentiment - and in your most gleeful tone!)
Despair - Billy Collins
So much gloom and doubt in our poetry -
flowers wilting on the table,
the self regarding itself in a watery mirror.
Dead leaves cover the ground,
the wind moans in the chimney,
and the tendrils of the yew tree inch toward the coffin.
I wonder what the ancient Chinese poets
would make of all this,
these shadows and empty cupboards?
Today, with the sun blazing in the trees,
my thoughts turn to the great
tenth-century celebrator of experience,
Wa-Hoo, whose delight in the smallest things
could hardly be restrained,
and to his joyous counterpart in the western provinces,
*For more on Billy Collins click here