Thursday, April 24, 2008

“Worship” by Bill Brown

Before I begin discussing this poem, I must admit some bias. Bill Brown was my professor and is probably one of the most influential teachers I have had. In fact, probably part of the reason I write this blog (in addition to the inherent human need to write) is due to my reintroduction to the joys of writing I had from working with him. That said, he’s also an excellent poet, as evidenced by “Worship.”

“Worship” is one of my favorite free verse poems. It makes great use of diction and poetic elements (such as repetition and alliteration), but that isn’t the basis of its appeal. What I particularly like is how it discusses the possibility of going back to simplicity and a sense of idealism after years of cynicism (which gives this pessimist some hope). Although I can’t imagine living without my laptop, it is a nice thought that I can someday kick my intense internet and email addiction and embrace an uncomplicated existence.

Besides calling back a simpler, less complicated time, this poem addresses the rituals we do out of “simple human need,” which makes quite a bit a sense when you stop and think about it. How often do we do things because we get some sort of comfort from them? However, the poem isn’t simply talking about the little pleasures of life; instead, it also addresses the importance of “needful work,” an appealing idea if there ever was one. Rather than worrying about all of the things society tells us we should be doing, “Worship” reminds us to focus on the things that are essential for body and spirit.

Prof. Brown’s latest collection of poems is Late Winter.