Garrison Keillor has written his finest column yet for the Washington Post, "The secret delight of poetry." In it he briefly muses, for nostalgic effect, on the secondary-school terrors of a T.S. Eliot, "that small dark cloud of a poet," and he notes that the poetry of "Rage is simple; loneliness, despair — a child could do it.... But love is a challenge, especially for men." From there, Keillor moves to the practical side, for the modern Neanderthalic man, of self-composed poetry:
Men are wired for combat, to bash the enemy into submission, and it’s hard to wipe the blood and gore off your hands and sit down and write, “O wondrous thou, the wonderment of these my happiest days, I lift my pen to praise thy shining beauty” and so forth.
But you can do it….
Write the poem in black ink on a sheet of white paper — poems should never be sent by email, and never, never, never text a poem — hand it to her and as she reads it, put one hand on her shoulder so that you’re right there when she turns with tears in her eyes to embrace you and forgive you for every way you’ve messed up her life. This is the power of poetry. Poets get the girl.
I would suggest, my fellow male, that you accustom yourself to composing such ditties on a monthly basis, at a minimum. For you know as well as I that you're messing up her life in every way, and probably every bloody day. It's what we do. How they put up with us, I'll never understand. But they do. And if a poorly written poem can ease their torment, it's the least we can offer.