Shining threads

Shining threads

Thursday, 30 December 2010

In defence of Poetry

Poetry stands accused.
In the dock,
on trial,
banished from Plato's geometric city walls,
outlawed as mere fancy by puritans and theocracies,
dismissed as irrelevant by mechanistic science,
and illogical by rationalists.

Poetry hears the charges,
and laughs with a gentle fierceness.
Eyes blazing
(and the eyes of Poetry are many)
surveying the quirks, curves and designs of nature,
of humanity itself,
considering what she knows feeds people,
beyond bread and water.

Poetry relishes the assault,
winking at her friends, music and pleasure,
who stand by the edge of the court,
whispering sweet nothings
into the ears of one another.

'Poetry' thunders the judge.
'You have been deemed useless,
a drain on our resources,
a senseless exercise in vanity,
and self-indulgence,
insubstantial and silly.
We, the powers that be,
have decided your presence
is no longer required in the world.
What do you have to say for yourself?'

'Well,' said Poetry,
wetting her lips, relishing the moment.
'I think you are overlooking a few matters.
Let me remind you,
in case you have forgotten
why I am here.

Poetry springs forth from souls,
in the most curious of circumstances,
like a nectar to balm the sores of a frayed life.

Poetry mounts revolutions,
seduces, enlightens.
Plants seeds of rhythm and rhyme,
beauty and outrage,
documents emotions and situations,
which might be unspeakable,
in ordinary parlance.

Poetry pushes back the black shadow of despair,
to reveal the true colours of the psyche.

Poetry is the sound of language rapping on the doors of the soul -
pushing and pushing until its light breaks through.
Flashes of clarity come.
Flourishes of an all-pervasive luminosity.

Poems evoke the dormant landscape of the imagination,
awakening all manner of secret beings,
aching to be paid attention,
aching to dance once again.

Poetry poses paradoxes,
setting off itches in readers' minds,
which over time,
maybe moments, maybe decades,
worm their way into the depths
of people's being,
lexical keys,
unlocking forgotten dimensions of existence.

Poetry is the language of divine, angelic and fairy realms.
It's how the bards of ancient times told their tales.
The hidden harmony beyond the rigidities
of proper grammar.
The music of the spheres
which embroiders the astronomers' clinical vision.

Poetry pops up to perturb and perchance to persuade,
joining words, which live in
a dictionary town of detached houses,
to step out and join a dance,
spiralling round the universe.

Poetry knows no bounds,
yet can take on form
and restriction for the sake of play.

You need me, all you
scholars and lawyers,
engineers and economists.
Let the fragrant rose of poetry
soften your hard sciences.
And when you plumb the depths of your disciplines,
you will see that poetry was always there,
woven into the fabric of existence,
in neat turns of phrase,
eloquent equations
and profound truths.

Poetry is sitting there,
on the bookshelf,
on the web,
little phrases that pop into your head
and remembered fragments of masters
studied at school.

Every city, every community,
has its poets,
every prison and school,
government house and hospital.
An ongoing revolution,
sometimes private,
sometimes sung from the hilltops,
to announce the presence of the sublime
and the ridiculous,
and the freedom we must exercise
to liberate poetry (though it was never truly imprisoned)
and plant it in the ears and hearts
of people, hungry for movement.

The point of poetry is....(drumroll!).....nothing!'


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