At What Time Do You Become A Poet?

by Samuel De Lemos


At what time do you become a poet? This is a question I’ve been pondering?

Can you call yourself a poet, just because you can write some fancy lines?

Or is that a title bestowed upon someone, when his poetry is finally published in a respectable journal?

Who finally says,”that person, he’s a poet” and others follow suit and agree?

I’m perplexed by this question? I know clearly its not a full time occupation.

One can’t just be a poet without a real job.

I’ve read of famous poets who were school teachers, bankers, furniture makers and even politicians!

It’s not like it used to be in al-Andalus. Where there were patrons supporting one’s poetic life.

Where you were paid to write beautiful muwaššaḥs, Arabic lyrical elegies about wine, beauty and love.

Those days are over. Our society demands that we make a living, and frowns upon artistic endeavors.

The usual quip is stated, “he writes poetry but during the day, he has a real job.” Or “that’s just a hobby”

Ive even read books that qualifies the act of writing poetry as a profession that doesn’t pay, so don’t get any bright ideas.

Oh my, poetry is so elusive, how do I contribute a verse? And, to call oneself a poet is presumptuous, unless others of stature agree.

Though I come from a lenient position, as long as you write poetry, you are one.

I don’t want to cause riffs with the establishment, who am I to give out poetic titles, willy nilly?

I guess I’ll just keep on writing poetry, regardless of what others say.

And, leave the bestowing of titles to those more qualified.