Why poetry?

This is a question which comes up often enough to deserve a thorough answer. Poetry is the concentrated ‘Finish’ dishwasher tablet of literature. It’s compact (usually), it’s designed to express something (often), and it can be emotive or deeply descriptive in a short number of words.

Here’s a good example:

You and I

I explain quietly. You
hear me shouting. You
try a new tack. I
feel old wounds reopen.

You see both sides. I
see your blinkers. I
am placatory. You
sense a new selfishness.

I am a dove. You
recognize the hawk. You
offer an olive branch. I
feel the thorns.

You bleed. I
see crocodile tears. I
withdraw. You
reel from the impact.

By Roger McGough
There’s a huge amount going on here – emotions, description and opportunities for self expression which don’t usually present themselves other than on the stage. These are vistas into other people’s lives and thoughts, or a perfectly described scene, which we can appropriate for just a moment, and express, and empathise, as we stand in the author’s shoes for that moment.
This is why poetry! 🙂 The concentrated ‘Finish’ dishwasher tablet of literature!
Best wishes
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