Whenever anyone writes something down, with the intention of sharing it with others, they do so with an inherent belief that they are writing something worthwhile. A blogger, for example, does not blog for the sheer joy of it, but rather because they think they have something to share that other people need to know. The very act of writing on a public forum assumes that people want to read your writing.
Poetry is this squared. When someone sits down to write a poem, they not only think they have something of worth to share but they think that it's so worthwhile you'll be happy to spend ages trying to understand it. A poet is an wannabe celebrity without the looks. This is possibly the reason that I used to spend a lot of time writing poetry.
With this in mind I write this post carefully. Many, many people do not read poetry, or enjoy reading poetry, and yet I am about to suggest that you do just that. Hang with me here, it should make sense before I'm done.
Love, as most people know, is an illusion. It seems to be little more than a firing of endorphins which encourages kinship and childbearing. It is an evolutionary device to help us pass on our DNA. And yet no one would alive that the experience of love can be distilled so. Love is beyond understanding, love is a mystery, love is without words.
We can't understand love, and we can't understand poetry. And so the two combined create a whole world of mystery. And it is this reason that I love it.
Where, like a pillow on a bed
A pregnant bank swell'd up to rest
The violet's reclining head,
Sat we two, one another's best.
Our hands were firmly cemented
With a fast balm, which thence did spring;
Our eye-beams twisted, and did thread
Our eyes upon one double string;
So to'intergraft our hands, as yet
Was all the means to make us one,
And pictures in our eyes to get
Was all our propagation.The Ecstacy, by John Donne is one of the most beautiful descriptions of love and sex every written, especially considering it was written by a preacher. In this passeg he describes with metaphor and beautiful words lovers lying on a river bed, gazing into each others eyes, as the rest of the world seems to disappear around them.
This is a human beings attempt to describe the indescribable. It is a man's attempt to transcribe lust and passion. It is impossible to completely understand it. All we can do is feel the words, feel round the idea. And it is own idea of love, our own Idea of passion, that gives the meaning shape. In this way reading poetry affirms your own view on the world. And for a few moment's it allows you to float above it.
In the film 'Bright Star' John Keets describes how reading a poem should feel.
"A poem needs understanding through the senses. The point of diving into a lake is not immediately to swim to the shore but to be in the lake, to luxuriate in the sensation of water. You do not work the lake out, it is a experience beyond thought. Poetry soothes and emboldens the soul to accept the mystery. "To read romantic poetry is to immerse yourself into another persons emotions, and to feel the emotions well up in you. It is to remove yourself from the world of black and white and live out a moment in a world of intense colour. When you return to the world of reality, everything looks that bit more colourful.
And when a poem attempts to describe love. Even the simplest words can be profound.
let me be your vacuum cleaner
breathing in your dust
let me be your ford cortina
i will never rust
if you like your coffee hot
let me be your coffee pot
you call the shots
i wanna be yours
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