What Makes Me Read a Poem?

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Art in nature – June Perkins

The first lines and opening must avoid cliché
and even better still intrigue and invite me
into the poem’s world.
It really mustn’t tell me how much love is like a rose.
If there is metaphor it needs to flow and extend naturally
and there are so many metaphors that have been overused
it might take some experiments to find something original
but too original than perhaps I won’t relate.
The poem could profound
I don’t mind having to do some work to understand
but if it totally confuses, leaves me lost,
then I am unlikely to read until the end.
Please don’t let it have an artifice of depth
but actually be a shallow pool.
It might leave me with a question, an impression, a mood, a challenge,
a pertinent observation and
a constant musing on its end.
I might want to read it again and again.
It might be the poem I’ll forever carry in my head.
It might enchant and seduce with its
delicate impressions that capture
the natural world I love.
It might introduce me to words
I have never heard before but instead of shutting me
out make me curious and willing to go and look them up.
It might touch a nerve
crawl into my poetry sense
with its metre and cadence
burrow into my head
to create comfort or discomfort
to unnerve me
with its truth.
Perhaps it is clever beyond belief
an artful crafting of sonnet, haiku, prose poem
or villanelle
but if it’s clever just for clever’s sake
I might not give it a second reading
even though I admire the technical skill.
Or maybe it’s just what I needed to read that very minute and
it just came into my life
in the feed, in the poetry book someone gifted to me
in a random search online.
Maybe it says what I am feeling
trying to do
trying to understand
trying to remember
trying to encourage in the world
trying to forget.
Now I’ve told you my reasons
I wonder dear reader
Why do you read a poem ?

(c) June Perkins  


13 thoughts on “What Makes Me Read a Poem?

  1. Poems need to touch me emotionally and transport me to another dimension where I forget I’m reading. I’m only feeling.

  2. Reblogged this on Pearlz Dreaming and commented:

    So this weeks blog is a reblog from Ripple Poetry – a space where I share poetry, ideas for writing and editing it, and the work of other poets. The latest blog there was about what makes me read a poem. I’d love for you to share what makes you read a poem and any of the names of your favourite poets! In some parts of the world it is national poetry month. So to those readers I wish you a happy month of poetry but poetry can be for all seasons, places and times.

    1. “But the young, young children, O my brothers,
      They are weeping bitterly!—
      They are weeping in the playtime of the others
      In the country of the free.

      Do you question the young children in the sorrow,
      Why their tears are falling so?—
      The old man may weep for his to-morrow
      Which is lost in Long Ago—
      The old tree is leafless in the forest—
      The old year is ending in the frost—
      The old wound, if stricken, is the sorest—
      The old hope is hardest to be lost:” Thanks for sharing…

  3. A poem that speaks to me is like a spark in dry kindling. It sets my imagination aflame. Thanks for sharing your inspiration, Pearl.

  4. poems that speak to me, in a way a best friend or a close person wold, speaking and telling me stories without ever letting a word out.

    1. When you wrote this it made me think of the way dance is a poetic expression, and the way a poem can speak about that which is difficult to express in words.

      1. true indeed, dance and poem, and all other forms of art speak a great amount with limited talking.

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