Poetry: A cryptograph in writing

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic
Poetry of ten deals with evoking several emotions found within a person. This is my opinion on why poetry results as being complicated to many.

Submitted: January 17, 2009

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Submitted: January 17, 2009

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Poetry: a Cryptograph in Writing

“Poetry often enters through the window of irrelevance”  M.C. Richards

Ever since it’s creation in ancient Greece, poetry has challenged both readers and writers because of  it’s aesthetic and complex style. Unlike a story, poetry focuses more on the form, style and organization of it’s words rather than just meaning. A story might have an apparent meaning, but poetry leaves it up to the reader to decide what is hidden within the writing. This multifaceted style also deals with evoking every single sense of the reader’s body while playing a series of games with their mind. Many people probably ask themselves: why must a poem be so complicated? In a way it results as being intricate because poetry is unconventional. While many other styles of writing follow a specific form and must be grammatically correct, in poetry there are no rules. A poem can be grammatically incorrect and be organized in a way that gives us a sense of bewilderment when first viewed. However, it is important to maintain a certain structure within the words.
A great example of a poet who contains great knowledge of the importance of structure and form is author e.e. cummings. His poems: “Me up at does” an “l(a” show us the importance of form, and at the same time it teaches us that the amount of words in poetry are not relevant to the meaning and images seen within. The first poem starts by saying: “Me up at does out of the floor”, (“Me up at does” cummings 816). The first thing that should be noticed is that these verses are grammatically incorrect, yet we must ask ourselves why it’s written that way before judging the author. A person should think of: the time, purpose, meaning and form of the poetry, for these details play an indispensable part in the solving of poems, which sometimes can be harder to resolve than the most difficult puzzles. After reading this very short poem, one can begin to piece together all of the images and finally understand it. This poem is written in a relatively simple form, yet it is packed with many images(the house, man, mouse and emotions). Another interesting fact is the message found in this poem. I see it as an example of how threatened people are by outsiders and the lengths that we are willing to go to conserve that which we believe is rightfully ours. This is particularly directed to the time when segregation along with slavery was ended. This can be inferred because the mouse in the poem is an outsider who is just trying to find the proper means of survival, yet the man poisons the mouse because he felt threatened by it. Also the verse “Me up at does” is said in such a way that is spoken mostly by African-Americans.
On the other side we have the poem “l(a”. When written correctly, the poem says: “l(a leaf falls) oneliness”, (“l(a” cummings 835). The poem is written in a way that the letters seem to fall out of the paper. Without this proper form, the poem becomes nothing more than a simple phrase, it loses it’s essence. What is very interesting is that the poem is as short as it is complicated. This poem truly challenges the reader to analyze the words and ask themselves many questions about the structure. “l(a” also brings out some of the most beautiful and depressing images found in writing, the falling of a single leaf… This can signify a lost of hope and the coming of winter, a season where cold and death approaches, as does the end of the year. Most importantly these poems puzzle us and force us to dig deep within the words. Cummings’ work express enormous amount of creativity, which in my opinion  is an indispensable element in the creation of a poem.
While written “Beautiful Illusion” it seemed very difficult to create the specific structure, while trying to maintain the message and musicality that I was trying to achieve. I found myself very influenced by poets such as e.e. cummings and Robert Frost. I truly admire cummings’ originality and genius way of organization and Frost’s way of presenting things in such a beautiful yet tragic manor. Ultimately this poem has to represent me and I think it does. I don’t feel the necessity to explain the meaning because I believe that it is up to the reader to decide the meaning, images and feelings(if any) that they can capture from the poem. The form however is especially important. If you notice the verse that says Mirror, it is followed by the same word written backwards, thus showcasing the effects of a mirror/illusion. After this verse, the rest of the poem is written as the reflection of the beginning. The irony in this is that the two couldn’t be more different. The beginning starts with feelings of uncertainty and false hope while towards the end the feelings are those of content and acceptance. As mentioned in my definition of poetry, I believe that structure creates that certain je ne sais quoi in a poem that helps express the creativity of it’s author, and at the same time gives the poem a soul. I believe my poem exemplifies a good balance between form, imagery and meaning. I also enjoy the fact that this poem kind of plays games with the reader’s mind as they are not only trying to figure out the meaning, but are also searching to understand the meaning of it’s structure. Poetry is a mystery because only the author knows it’s true meaning and the reader can only infer what they think it signifies to them. To me poetry is art, but more than art it is creativity at it’s most masochist. I have said, and will continue on saying  that poetry is truly in the eye of the beholder.


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