One of my closest friend who’s a phenomenal writer, asked me a question the other night, “What is the purpose of poetry? Why do it?” I gave her a short answer but throughout the last few nights I have thought long and hard on this.
Poetry is my favorite type of writing. I have thousands upon thousands of poems. I have no clue how many since a lot of them get thrown away. I write one or more a day. Do the math! I’ve been writing since I was a little girl. I write poetry because it tells a story in minimal words. It shows through simple phrases how or why, when and what…etc. It requires the holding back and manipulation of allowing another (you the reader) to enter through lines of voyeurism. Fiction, narration of long stories, well, they tell you how to feel. Poetry places it so you inhale each line and make it your own. I don’t care about form, style, punctuation, vocabulary, or anything else that marks a poem as a literary work of art. I want to know how it feels inside of you and you translate it into words. Poetry, to me, is the simplicity of adjectives through emotions.
I look back at times at old pieces from years ago and the anger, frustration and sadness fall line upon line. Yuck! I can’t even go there but I recognize that it was a part of my life. I held poetry imprisoned with lack of emotions. It was forced without flow. Some of these poems were held in shackles, bonded to some kind of structure, forcing out what I thought was good writing. It wasn’t. I am by no means an expert in literature. I often times don’t manipulate English well enough to be coherent since it is my second language. But, something is said about finally allowing poetry to write itself without control. When a line wakes you up in the middle of the night nagging with persistence to birth it on paper, well, that’s a poem from the soul!
Words fall out quickly when we allow the emotions to unload onto a page. I believe poetry is a song from the heart. Worrying about rhyming, structure, and other important literary elements stops the flow of what is really inside. Yes, these parts that make a poem should come way later after the words are out and about. Let the spirit of your truth say what it needs to share. Don’t hold back. Allow each word to come out without restrains, handcuffs, and enforcement. Poetry is not about sharing with an audience. It is about releasing and surrendering.
So, why write poetry? Hmmm! I believe to exhale the gaps between the heart and the outer world. When I write a poem I come in contact with Spirit, the part of me that finds freedom. Any other form of writing doesn’t come close to it. The older I get the easier each line falls out. And, that’s why I write poetry. It is allowing another to hold my heart in theirs for just a few seconds at a time.
(dedicated to A.M.)