“I, Too Dislike It”


The title quote is from Marianne Moore’s poem “Poetry” where she agrees with those who find poetry obscure, but also defends the writing of it. Since I have been choosing which poems of mine to post, I have been thinking about the barriers between poetry and readers. Poetry was never meant to be full of “hidden meanings.” (Well, I take that back. There are poets who are intentionally obscure. I am not one of them, nor do I have any interest in reading them.) English teachers often do poetry a disservice by implying it is something that you have to “figure out.” Worse are the teachers who ask leading questions which only have one answer–their answer–about poems.

I like poetry because it has a unique way of putting words and images to experience. Many times poems will help me to see something I have overlooked. Other times I feel companionship when I read a poem, feeling that at least one other human being understands something I understand.

In the following poem I reflect on the neighborhood boys who spend hours shooting baskets down the street from my house. I admire their perseverance, a trait I sometimes lack.


Mostly they miss,

Those boys endlessly

Trying, trying, trying

To make the ball

Swoosh lightly through the

Battered, wobbly, rusty hoop.


They dream, too.

And, more willing than I,

Keep aiming

Keep missing

Till sundown.

I hope that as you read this you can tell that my neighborhood isn’t wealthy(see the description of the hoop.) I hope that you think about boys whose one avenue out of the neighborhood might be sports. I hope you admire their sticking to it, no matter the odds against them. But I would rather you come to these ideas on your own just from reading my words. There is no right way to read this little poem. I just hope to communicate something about those kids to the reader.

15 thoughts on ““I, Too Dislike It”

  1. I like your poem. Thank you so much for sharing. I really like poetry. I use to write it myself. There was a time I went to poetry houses and braved the fear within me to share during open mic night.
    It was great, but I enjoyed listening to others. Also, I agree, I don’t like obscure poetry. I have no time to figure things out. I just want to enjoy it and not walk away with my own interpretation. “Tell me what you mean,” I want to yell at the poet who penned it! :).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s a lovely poem, and I admire the spare richness. I do not deliberately intend to be obscure in my writing, but I suppose some pieces lack clarity–I just write what comes out, and let the chips fall where they may with readers.


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