Doug Blair (April 6,1951 / London, Ontario, Canada)
Often I hear from the poetry blog “John Coyote”. A recent entry addresses many of the redeeming possibilities of poetry. I agree with the writer and share his hope that many new poets will step forward and issue from their hearts for the betterment of the reading public.
It got me thinking about a rather strange poem by Robert Browning. It takes us to what appears to be a Spanish community at the time of the death of the town’s most notable poet. It traces his eccentricities, his travels and observations, his lonely accommodations and his impact upon the high and low. Apparently as he wandered the streets and shops of the community with his observant eye, he took on somewhat of the role of Father Confessor. People were aware of his presence and assessment and influence.
It reminds me of the role of poet as philosopher, chronicler and social commentator in many societies of the past (Ireland, Ukraine, France, Russia come to mind) .
At one point in Browning’s poem he refers to the Corregidor, a Spanish word translating high magistrate or official. Funny that a man strangely dressed and housed, and given to odd imagery and idealism, would warrant such a title.
And Elizabeth B. Browning his wife also distinctly heard the call of Corregidor.
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