“This is what poems are for:
Telling other people things
I can no longer tell you.”
This quote by Trista Mateer is one of my favorite quotes of all time. Because every time I read this quote, I cannot help but wonder what was going on in the minds of those great poets when they wrote the poems we read today, or rather who was going on in the minds of those poets?The center of almost every poem is the poet missing their lover or their mother or their home or they are extremely happy or extremely sad and there’s no other way to express that feeling but poetry. ‘There’s no other way to express that feeling but poetry.’ Everything makes so much more sense when it’s in the form of poetry.
Truth be told, I haven’t always been this big of a poetry fan. For the longest time poems for me were just lessons in my English textbook. The emphasis was more on finding the figure of speech and not on connecting with the poet. Every line had a hidden meaning, the red dress was a symbol of pain or sometimes pleasure, the blue eyes symbolized the oceans of tears she held in her eyes, the daffodils symbolized happiness. We were always told to read between the lines. But what if, just what if, the red dress is just a red dress symbolizing nothing but how much does our girl in the poem like the color red or maybe not even that. What if blue eyes are just the color of her eyes and the poem mentions daffodils because it’s the only flower that grows around her house? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that poems are just plain sentences that symbolize nothing. I’m sure that many poems like ‘the road not taken’ actually do have a deeper meaning. All I’m trying to say is that we don’t always have to search for deeper meaning. The point of poetry is for you to enjoy it, it’s for you to connect to it.
Shakespeare rightly said that the only thing that will outlive everything is poetry. The feelings you feel now of pain or heartbreak or misery or happiness or love, you think those feelings are unique to you, you think that no one in the world could understand what you’re feeling and then one day you come across a poem that speaks to you in a way you didn’t think was possible. It seems like that poem is something from your own head. And that part of you is a bit more defined, a bit sharper, and a bit easier to understand and explain to others. And in a while, you realize that this poet felt exactly what you’re feeling just some hundred and fifty years ago. Told you that everything makes so much more sense when it’s in the form of poetry.
What’s more interesting is we all read the same poetry and miss different people, different places, different homes. How that poem is written for none of us but somehow for every one of us. Don’t you think that’s the entire point of poetry? You don’t have to understand the poetry to enjoy it. You don’t have to read every work of your favorite poet to say you’re a fan. You don’t have to go look for the deeper meaning, sometimes there isn’t any and sometimes the deeper meaning is how the poem resonates with you. Sometimes the point of poetry is poetry.