My Understanding of Poetry

Chasing that elusive prey that might not even exist, wondering if it is threatening my existence, hungry to consume my mind, in pursuit of me closing in fast behind with its teeth glistening and its jaws open wide.  I enter a vicious circle where the repetition and rhyme of the words draw me in, while the meaning escapes me, but perhaps I should not assume that what the poet wrote was meant to be understood.  Is the poet a literary genius, or am I reading the diary of a madman?  When something remains out of my grasp, then I guess I should try harder, or take this as a challenge and finish the poem, so that it finally makes sense to me.  I am down with the act of completion, or bringing something into fruition, as nothing beats the thrilling enjoyment of a happy ending.

Most poems are written in lines (also called a verse) and groups of lines is called a stanza which is like a paragraph and stanzas are often defined by the meter and rhyme scheme.  Meter is the basic rhythmic structure of a verse or lines in verse, they depend on syllable counts being the pattern of the beats.  It is also called a foot.  Each foot has a certain number of syllables in it, usually two or three syllables. The type of foot in a poem’s meter depends on the pattern of accented and unaccented syllables in a line.  Most poems have the same foot pattern throughout the piece.  Stress is the emphasis that falls on certain syllables and not others, and this is accomplished by placement and arrangement of sounds along with grammar and punctuation to create poetic rhythm.  The process of working out which syllables in a poem are stressed is known as scansion.

Most poetry is written to inspire people to go on a pursuit of some deep meaning that will allow them to connect more deeply with themselves and others.  Free verse poems have no rhyme or rhythm and they rely on the power of the words themselves to paint a vivid portrait of the poet’s feelings.  They are more unpredictable, thus they allow the poet to convey truly passionate emotions.  What I don’t know about poetry would fill the complete idiot’s guide to writing poetry, but I do like poems that rhyme and the end of lines, as they are more pleasing to my ears.

Written for Scotts Daily Prompt – Pursuit.

15 thoughts on “My Understanding of Poetry

  1. I like all kinds of poetry. If I don’t get it, then I don’t get it… like a lot of modern art I look at. But when I do, it’s its own kind of magic. (Take that, J. Evans Pritchard, Ph.D.)

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  2. Excellent post. And I love that movie.
    When I write poems everyday, I know some may be good, a few really good but mostly mediocre.
    If a poem speaks to me it is truly delightful. But there are times I am put off by glaring grammatical errors and then somehow I am unable to enjoy the thought behind it. To each his/her own I guess.

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    1. Rest In Peace Robin Williams and I wish that I knew more about poetry, but alas many of the poems that I read even though I enjoy the words, I wish that they would come with a handbook that would explain them to me.

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  3. How about a limerick? They can be fun …. I found this on Google for you

    There once was a farmer from Leeds,
    Who swallowed a packet of seeds.
    It soon came to pass,
    He was covered with grass,
    But has all the tomatoes he needs


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  4. I am not a fan of poetry because I’m more of a what you see is what you get kind of a guy and even though I see it, I often don’t get it. Maybe that’s why I like prose. But I might learn to appreciate poetry if I had some Prozac.

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      1. Well, I prefer prose to poetry, but I do miss that you don’t post nearly as often as you used to. And it’s not YOUR poetry that I didn’t understand, it’s most poetry, with the exception of limericks.

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