Thursday, September 22, 2011

Why Poetry?

Longtime readers of my blog will notice that I post a lot of poetry – and not all of it is good. Many of you probably wonder why I torment your eyes with doggerel. There are several reasons why I inflict my work (and up to this point, my poems have all been original) upon you.
First, I am a shameless narcissist. Most writers are narcissists, to some extent – anyone who writes, on some level, does so because he or she is proud of and loves to see his own work, and wants to share it with others. The artist cannot resist the sight of his own work, even if others cannot understand or appreciate it.
Poets tend to be even worse than prose writers about narcissism. And I am no exception to that rule.
Also, I love to write poetry, and know that I will actually write poetry if I am forced to. I have a million ideas swirling around my head – ideas that need to be developed. Under normal circumstances,I would rarely write my ideas down. But because I need to write for my blog, then I now have the self-imposed obligation to write poetry.  
There are two serious reasons why I post poetry. 
This is a blog on cultural issues. Poetry is in some sense the pulse of culture. Proper poetry comes from a strong and virtuous culture. Virgil during the Augustan Era, Tennyson during the British Empire are two examples of this.  
Bad poetry signifies a culture in decline. I defy anyone to look through a book of modern poetry and understand the poems that are written within.
At the very least, I can claim that my poetry has meaning. My poetry, technically unsound though it might be, expresses something related to reality. Many of my colleagues do not express anything at all in their “poetry.”
In a way, my poetry postings are part of my (admittedly feeble) attempts to help others understand that poetry is meant to convey truth – and that poetry that does not do so reflects a declining and diseased culture.
The other reason is because poetry can affect people for the better. A good poem with meaning can inspire and shape men and women for the better. Descriptions of various aspects of history are beautiful, and help others to better see the beauty present in nature and reality.
Our culture is currently shaped by music. Popular songs and music videos shape our understanding of life, happiness, parenthood, pleasure, and love. Music has, in effect, become what poetry once was. But the spoken word is still important and can still inspire many - and it is important to remember our roots.
As such, it is my hope that the poetry I post will provide insight for those who view it. I do not make a claim of masterwork, of course. But what I have to offer, I freely give, if you are willing to read.
And God willing, one of you, more skillful than I, will be inspired to write your own poetry.

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