When I started to write about what I was feeling, long ago, I never stopped to ask why the words came out as poetry. Exposed to the poetic form in high school English classes, I think it must have just seemed appropriate. Except I didn’t think about it that way or choose it consciously. That’s just what I wrote when I wrote. Thinking about it now, some sixty plus years later, I think the poem is the natural form for feeling. Almost like an addition to the five senses.
Or maybe it’s neither left nor right brain but center brain (middle). It combines both feeling and thinking, both sensation and logic. It’s not narrative, typically, or mindless conversation, but emotion organized, experience condensed and presented rhymically. Rhythm – I think that’s what I’m looking for. The distinction between poetry and and other forms of communcation is that rhythm is central to expression.
A poet, then, not only captures the description of the experience including those inside, but captures too the rhythm itself. A poet is a writer who is attuned to the rhythms of life, who hears and senses the beat.
Could be why it’s closest to music. And why both often speak of love, for the beat of our hearts is the strongest rhythm, and the first, we hear. A poet will hear that even more clearly.
Modern poetry’s rhythms reflect the jumbled nature of contemporary existence. The dissonance, the choppiness if you will, that we live with each day. Natural, away from it all, rhythms are much slower and gentler. Urban rhythms stab at us, wound us, rake us and elude smoothness.
If the rhythm is chaotic, the poet hears that and sets down the words in chaotic patterns to match.