‘The Covered Bridge’ & Indiana poet laureate

2 Mar

My friend Angie’s grandfather, Arthur Franklin Mapes, who died when she was a toddler, is one of Indiana’s poet laureates. He wrote Indiana’s state poem, “Indiana,” and was quite a dapper gentleman, wouldn’t you say?

Arthur Franklin Mapes

I learned this because Angie runs Mapes’ website. I started to browse around it a bit and read some of Mapes’ work. It is, in a word, folksy. I kind of love it — surprising, because I traditionally have little appreciation for such structured work. I find poems with end rhyme tedious because they are so often forced. (I about go into convulsions when I hear 3 Doors Downs’ “Kryptonite” because of the following lyric: “You call me strong. You call me weak, but still your secrets I will keep.” Who friggin’ talks like that?? Anywho …)

But Mapes’ rhyme is not forced. His subject matter is very, well, Indiana:  the Bible, Christmas, Johnny Appleseed. The sweet simplicity of  “Forty Years” brought tears to my eyes.

What made me want to comment on this, though, was “The Covered Bridge”. It’s one of those poems that made me pause and reread it a few times. It “spoke to me” (I hate that phrase, it’s so dippy), and the idea behind it is one I find lovely: that a scene can be so beautiful, so spiritual, that you almost feel naughty to be marring it with your own interpretation of what you see. Like you’re somehow a voyeur to something magical that you’re not worthy to behold. If you’ve ever watched two people in love glance at one another in That Way, you know what I mean — it’s beautiful, and you can’t look away, but you feel as though you don’t belong there.

I always get excited when I find a new poet I enjoy. Who’s your favorite poet?

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One Response to “‘The Covered Bridge’ & Indiana poet laureate”

  1. Ally March 2, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

    I have to admit I don’t do a lot of poetry, but I just clicked over and read The Covered Bridge – it is pretty amazing.

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