Our December blog is from Brooklin Poetry Society founding member, Bradley McIlwain.
On one of my recent walks, I found myself in a clearing, fall’s fiery colours swirled around my feet, each leaf a line of verse or memory. I thought about what John Keats wrote, that “if poetry comes not as naturally as the leaves to a tree it had better not come at all.”
Then snow fell, creating a blank canvas. Like the seasons, it reminded me that poetry is always cyclical, and reciprocal. We are constantly changing and creating change through our writing. Words can instill magic, a sense of wonder of the mysterious magical language of nature and our place within it.
It is easy to imagine Romantic poets such as Byron or Keats, sitting alone in their study with little more than a candle and a decanter of wine, quill in hand, pouring out their melancholy in verse. But even Byron, mad, bad, and dangerous to know, needed company from time to time.
In 1816, Byron invited Percy Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft to his home in Geneva, Switzerland and on a rainy evening, where Byron encouraged them to tell ghost stories. That evening planted the roots for Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein.
The story always fascinated me, and I realize that on dark, December nights, haunting cafés with my friends in Brooklin, poets gather, ideas are exchanged, stories created, tales told and inspiration is born.
Joining the Brooklin Poetry Society in 2008 has offered me an opportunity to grow the seeds of writing like Jack and his magic Beanstalk, and I have been continually inspired to seek the language of poetry in my daily life.