Poems can be easier to post on my blog because they can be abstract and I can hide behind a metaphor without fully explaining the meaning of it. There’s so much room to interpret what it means that the significance of the poem gets lost underneath the struggle to understand it.
With a poem, the reader can see what they want to see. They can ignore an obvious fact or zoom in on it; it’s up to them. Once the writer has let someone else see it, it is no longer simply their own poem but becomes something new to every person who comes across it.
Every reader has an opportunity to add or subtract from a poem.
They can add it to it by placing their own experiences into every sentence, making them fuller and bigger than the writer intended; the reader makes those words make sense to their present.
Or they can subtract so the words fit into their own lenses. Despite not understanding a line or two, the rest of the poem fits so the reader feels understood despite not understanding.
None of this is wrong; rather, isn’t that what words are for? Isn’t a poem supposed to be a gift that means something different to every recipient? Aren’t we supposed to find pieces of ourselves in books and songs? It’s a way of expression for the writer and reader alike, a way of understanding or feeling understood. But we cannot assume we know a writer purely on one poem, or one book, or one song, just as we cannot assume we know a reader based on the few books sitting on their coffee table. Words aid but are not the entire answer.
Maybe you understand my poems and maybe you don’t. For now, they are simply a way of putting thoughts into words when I do not have the words.
One thought on “Poems are Easier”
Your thoughtful description of poetry and meaning (or lack thereof) gives me permission to not understand it. Really well put! Thanks. I needed that!
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