I have read a couple of poems in my life. I think some was of Shakespeare, Poe and some woman who is dead. Virgina Woolf perhaps? Or Ayn Rand? Or… No… Yes, it was Dorothy Parker. I also think that musical lyrics fall into the category of poetry and therefore I have also “read” many poems by listening to music.
The point is: I don’t get poetry. I have no idea what that is. I know what I like, the ones who rhyme and are easy to understand, I also understand the article on wikipedia about poetry, but some poems that are supposed to be great are for me completely incomprehensible. Now that makes me feel stupid. AND I DON’T LIKE FEELING STUPID!
Here’s a little gem from a poet we have all heard of (i hope). His name was William Shakespeare:
Time’s glory is to command contending kings,
To unmask falsehood, and bring truth to light.
What the hell! “Time’s glory is to command…”? I DON’T GET IT! First, I don’t get “Time’s glory“! Is that the same as “glory over time“, aka. the glory that will come to people who wait? Or is it the glory that belongs to time, the honour that we can give it? Now, if I don’t get the first two words, why should I bother trying to understand the rest?
Secondly, I don’t find it beautiful either. It doesn’t rhyme, it’s not intuitive and therefore, to me, it is not sublime (YES, I KNOW THAT WORD! I may not, perhaps, understand it correctly, BUT I DO KNOW IT!)
Let’s look at an example that I do like from the same author/poet/writer/whatever:
By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes:
NOW THIS I THINK IS GREAT! This I can understand! And it rhymes! Enough said perhaps? I give up anyway. It’s all very “subjective” hypes. What someone finds great others don’t. It’s very frustrating in it’s interestingness.
But the point of this point is that to ME there has to be a certain motive or message that goes beyond mere aesthetic vanities (i.e “Ahh, lots of pretty, big words.”) and intellectual arrogance (i.e “this is great because YOU don’t get it”).
You know, discussing art (but also alot of other subjects) I tend to fall back upon a tale of H. C. Anderson called “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Now that is art! Not just because it is a facinanting tale, that I guess also is written well, but because it touches something we can all relate to. That sometimes from fear of seeming stupid we say we understand, accept and/or like something that is just SHIT!