Thoughts on Poetry

Poetry is one of my loves.

I love poetry for its ability to convey experience without losing meaning. A moment can be transcribed to the best of a poet's ability, and that experience will be passed on to another soul. The moment itself can be captured right along with emotion and perspective. Writing a poem is not always easy, but its fluidity allows for nuance that I think prose does not as easily allow.

The difference is that in the poem, metaphor and imagery create the takeaway. Each reader might not experience the same thing, but the overall message comes through adeptly. In the prose, the reader is told directly what the writer means. And prose writers can be quite poetic. But the reader still might have to do a little work to imagine it and draw the comparison themselves.

In poetry, the transcription of the poet's experience takes over. You see what they see, because the poem allows you to see it. I love that there is no need to reconcile my thoughts with anything but the words on a page, no pride to hide behind when poetry is subtly seeping into my subconscious with its beauty. I am taking in the experience of another person. Grappling with it. Coming to an understanding without judgement; this is theirs and my only job is to let it be shared with me.

Poetry is good for people to be able to share on a human level even when the world is screaming and gnashing teeth. Who is talking into the biggest microphone? Whose truth feels most real to them? That is the war we are fighting. Poetry moves past that. It is an art of expression and listening. I tell, you hear. You tell, I hear. Simply that, and one may learn from it or one may not, but it isn't a cannon fired into a brick wall. In order to write a poem you must sit and reflect. In order to receive one you should do the same.

I think God is like that. He is above needing to prove a point to anyone. He can listen to our experiences, take them in, and give us wisdom in return if we also are willing to listen. He even uses poetry to reach us. Psalms have brought me so much comfort and healing when other areas of the bible have failed to reach me.

Poetry can teach us how to listen better. It can teach us how to listen to ourselves, others, and God. Poetry is more question than answer, more showing than telling, more feeling than knowing. And sometimes, when connecting with someone proves to be toilsome, poetry can shows us how to put aside our knowledge and simply see.


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