Once Upon a Time….


What is poetry and its place in the human psyche? Poetry and prose, I believe, magically transports the reader to visualize vividly a very personal place in time, bringing to life every possible emotion seared into the psyche that the reader may have experienced in real life, wished for, dreamed of, or feared.

This is what makes poetry so emotionally beautiful and painfully true. We get it and it can be transforming. But, where does poetry fit in, in the whole scheme of our human experience. Poetry reflects our romantic inclinations, our troubled history, our social truths, politics, and the most beautiful of all philosophies – who and what are we anyway, in the scope of all there is under Heaven and Earth.

Poetry is romantic. The great writer and poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley said, “Poetry is a sword of lightning, ever unsheathed, which consumes the scabbard that would contain it.”  It is, also, I believe, as Robert Frost wrote, “when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.”

Poetry is more than a history of human desires. “Hence poetry”, wrote Aristotle, “is something more philosophic and of graver import than history, since its statements are rather of the nature of universals, whereas those of history are singulars.”

Poetry is often compared to the ultimate in what is truth. “Poetry, wrote Joseph Roux, “is truth in its Sunday clothes.”  Leonardo da Vinci, believed that, “Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history.” John Ciardi wrote, “Poetry lies its way to the truth.”

Poetry is political. “All poets, all writers are political”, writes Sonia Sanchez, “they either maintain the status quo, or they say, ’Something’s wrong, let’s change it for the better.”

Poetry is also philosophical. John Lennon believed that, “my role in society, or any artist or poet’s role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all.”

However, even though all the above quotes bare witness to the impact of poetry and prose on the human psyche, yet, no one has described and defined poetry and prose as beautifully as William Shakespeare, who wrote that poetry is,  “The poet’s eye, in a fine frenzy rolling, doth glance from heaven to Earth, from Earth to heaven; and as imagination bodies forth the forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen turns them to shape, and gives to airy nothing a local habitation and a name; such tricks hath strong imagination.”

Poetry and prose, I believe, represent the wonder of human imagination and all that lies between heaven and earth as we struggle to understand what it means to be human in a world that is constantly changing the definition of what is humanity and what it is not.

by K. D. Dowdall

January 28th, 2018


22 thoughts on “THOUGHTS ON POETRY

  1. Anony Mole says:

    Well said and well presented.
    Thought this was a perfect representation: ‘as Robert Frost wrote, “when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.”’


    1. Anony Mole, Thank you so much for your wonderful comment, and I too love that quote from Robert Frost, “when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. frenchc1955 says:

    Wonderful!!! Thank you so much for this essay. It is profound, thought provoking, and insightful!


  3. frenchc1955 says:

    Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
    This essay, by K.D. Dowdall is insightful and thought provoking!


  4. Thank you so much Charles, and again, I am honored by your praise. Poetry is close to my heart and my soul. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. frenchc1955 says:

      You are very welcome!


  5. Liz Leighton says:

    This is beautiful and poetic in itself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Liz, thank you so much, I am thrilled that you find Thoughts On Poetry beautiful and poetic. Poetry is really where my soul and heart lives. Thank you. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The collection of quotes and your poetic words make the heart beat faster…


    1. Kimberlee, thank you for this lovely comment and I am humbled because your writing is enchanting and lush with a beautiful cadence and breath-taking. Karen

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your words are a beautiful gift…thank you (always!)!


      2. Kimberlee, thank you and my pleasure. You are an inspiration. Karen 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Beautiful, Karen. I love the way you bring all the elements of poetry together. My favorite poetry is evocative, the kind that pulls on the heart. The best poems are so beautiful they make me gasp. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, D. and I too, love evocative poetry that is breath-taking and an Ah Ha moment the resonates in in the heart and soul. Poetry can be the synthesis of ideas, concepts, and truths, wrapped in a evocative melodic form that needs no definition, it is simply understood in a transcending moment of enlightenment. Karen 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Awesome. Great quotes and well integrated. I quite liked this synthesis.


    1. D. Avery. thank you so much for your wonderful comment. I was hoping that my thoughts on poetry would be a synthesis that was meaningful. Karen 🙂


  9. Jennie says:

    Karen, this is wonderful. I love this collection, particularly how Frost and Lennon depict poetry. Thank you!


    1. Jennie, thank you so much. It was my effort to describe poetry, because I saw so questions about what poetry is or means and hopefully, it helped. And, I thank you deeply for your beautiful comment! Karen 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jennie says:

        It was perhaps one of the best descriptions of poetry I have read, as it was from so many different poets. They each described poetry in a unique way. Just wonderful!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you, Jennie! Karen 🙂


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