I dwell in Possibility…

22 06 2011

Poetry? Blehh. I don’t like it, I don’t understand it, and I’d rather stay away from it.

At least that’s what I used to think – until I met Ruth Padel.

I didn’t actually meet Ruth Padel personally. I read her two books, 52 Ways of Looking At A Poem and 60 Poems For The Journey Of Life. As I immersed myself in the books, I realised how interesting poetry could be. Poems are full of life, meaning, inspiration…and movement.

How is poetry movement? There are words dancing down and across the page. Sounds flicker and ricochet throughout. Colours weave in and out. Vivid images are projected. Each poem is a journey. We might read it linearly from beginning to end, but I don’t think the poem itself is as simple as that. Good poems are more like spirals. They twirl, twist, swivel, spin. They are interlocking journeys of thoughts, feelings, associations, images, as Ruth Padel puts it.

Where does all this winding and whirling lead to? Truth, I think: “the spiraling dance and winding stair are poetry’s road to truth”. But here’s the thing – truths can lie. Paradoxical? Not really. The poem can lie, but the lies are true to what the poet “sees, feels, imagines”. Truths in the poem can also contradict each other, but that’s the whole point.

Do you have no contradictions? Then you have no possibilities.

Czech author Vladimir Holan

That’s probably what’s most exciting about poems. They’re full of new possibilities and inspiration. Poems embody the possibilities of seeing new truths.

I dwell in Possibility–
A fairer House than Prose–
More numerous of Windows–
Superior–for Doors–                                 Emily Dickinson

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