In my post on “experience” last week, I used 391 words…
Yesterday, I discovered I’d already conveyed the same basic idea, using a mere 42 words.
But let me warn you: those 42 words are in a poem (the poem below).
I hoist that warning because many good readers are frightened of poetry.
And I don’t blame them.
For one thing, we were tested on poetry in high school English. So, our first associations may not have been so pleasant.
For another thing, many believe cotemporary poetry to be impenetrable. Too abstract. Too obscure.
I know the complaint, and I would answer: the aim of such poetry is to get at what can not be expressed in words. A heroic effort by the poet.
But to be honest, that heroic effort sometimes requires a heroic effort by the reader.
So, though I’m a poet, I can appreciate why so many are afraid of poetry.
At the same time, as a poet and reader of poets, I’d like to coax other readers back to poetry…
Poetry can remind us of our wisdom—what we know but ignore in the rush…
Through poetry, we can regain a sense of the ineffable, if only for a moment.
Ideally, our religions perform this same function. However, many of us now say, “I’m spiritual, but not religious.”
I am one of those many. And so, if I wish to return to the ineffable, to the inexpressible truth, I must find ways of my own choosing…
…ways that will deepen my experience of this life, this mysterious life.
Because poetry can be one of those ways, I hope it will be included in our new mythology…
We can include those other 391 words as well…
I do like those other words…I chose them with considerable thought and emotion.
However, less is often more. I don’t know if the poem below creates a sense of the ineffable, but it is effectively economical.
And not so obscure.
Furthermore, I think it leaves us with an opening at the end…a space…
A space to be filled by the reader. Perhaps filled with a thought, a memory…
…or perhaps, with a silent feeling.
I once bemoaned all
I thought I might’ve missed
until I realized:
no matter what I’ve done
I never stopped breathing
the driest air
feels so dense
in my lungs—
such life in what appears to be
© 2013, Michael R. Patton
sky rope poetry