I'm just finishing up a rather thick book of the Worlds Greatest Poems I found at Borders and I have arrived at a conclusion. If the Worlds Greatest Poems were written by the Worlds Greatest Poets (a reasonable assumption) then my dream of ever being a great poet has been shattered:
· I have never been the inhabitant of an insane asylum
· I am not a repressed (or liberated) homosexual
· I have never been in a bad marriage
· I have never been afflicted with tuberculosis
· I am not a drug addict or alcoholic
All great poetry was apparently written by the most messed up people in each generation so maybe my own interest in poetry is misguided and doomed to failure. Either that or I need to punch up my resume with some fictitious information:
David Sweet was born in 1874 to a Methodist Reformer and spent his early childhood living on a wealthy estate in Scotland. As a young man he studied Milton and Keats but was never to escape the shadow of alcoholism and drug abuse that decimated his family ---the ones who did not die from tuberculosis. He entered seminary in 1876 but was expelled for being to revolutionary---as well as much too young---and instead moved to Paris where he dabbled in painting and heroin.
In 1878 he met and fell in love with Mathilda de'Boutique-Marquis, an actress, but was forced to give up the engagement and move back to Scotland by his father---again because he was too young. He eventually entered an arranged marriage with Brunhilda McCallister, daughter of the Earl of Rochester and after 5 years of marriage he suffered a nervous breakdown and entered an asylum in London where he wrote most of his best work on the insides of empty cereal boxes including Emperion, Ode to a Bug and the haunting Knock, Knock, Whose There?
After leaving the asylum (and a short stint in the army before they caught his age) he spent his last years wandering the streets of Milan and eventually died of consumption at the tender age of 11. Who knows what masterpieces this young prodigy may have completed had his life not been cut short by the fact that he was a poet.