I am reblogging this from something I wrote and posted almost a year ago. It seems that springtime is the time for poetry, when love blooms in the air. 

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



20 thoughts on “THOUGHTS ON POETRY

    • Lea, yes, that is true to an extent, just very simplified. However, we do feel paintings, they are poetry in paint, they speak to us. We get what the painter wants us to feel, experience, to know. Poetry creates a painting with words and we visualize what the poet wants us to experience, to know. Artists use all mediums to communicate, in their language, whether in paint or words, to make us feel by creating meaning to send use a message about their view of life. At least, that is the way I think of Art in all it’s beautiful forms. Art of ever nature, is simply another language to communicate feelings and knowledge about humanity and our world.

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      • Absolutely. Some of my favorite pieces were written under the influence of art. Those were the master’s words, not mine. I almost included my thoughts but he usually stands alone. One of the dreams is being locked up, at least overnight, in La Louvre or even a local artist I admore. My keyboard, I expect, would collapse under my demands.


      • Lea, I am glad you did, I had not heard that before. So, thank you! He just simplified the concept for ease of explanation – like a quote – short and sweet! I’m with you on the La Louvre lock-up! I loved the Louvre when I was there. I lived in England for a couple of years, and I had the opportunity to visit La Louvre a few times – wonderful memories. You are so lucky that you live in France. My maiden name is DeMers and my grandparents spoke French and my grandmother would sing to us in French. There is a very old medieval town by that name not too far from the ocean. It is also called the Venice of France. They have maintained it to keep its medieval appearance. I never went there, unfortunately. Karen 🙂

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  1. One of my grandmothers spoke Welsh and the other Swedish…As for the Venice of France, I believe you mean Annecy. It is one of the places I have not yet explored. I am on the Méditerranéenne..

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  2. Poetry is also magic…said to be the basis of incantations and spells of wizards, wherein the sounds made and combined in words empower the whole, weaving all manner of worlds — real, imagined and created — creeping into the most primal parts of the mind to manifest there the will of the speaker…It is one reason bards were accorded such respect, and another why we find odd words like “abracadabra” in our mythologies! Further, it is how real names became private and hidden, because to know the sounds that embodied the soul of a person was to command power over that person…and both magic and the poet’s power over people is indeed what we experience when we read great poetry…

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    • KC…Wow. You should use this in one of your essays. This is fantastic or if you don’t want to, can I put is on my blog from you? Then, I can add to it and call for others to give there thoughts on Poetry. In any event, I am keeping it in my great writing file. Why don’t you write a book with all your fabulous essays as some kind of anthology?

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      • You most certainly can, K.D…. I am considering such a tome…probably a collection of just such essays about all the things I discover in my journey as a Horror writer and reader…Now if Life would just get out of the way!


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