I hate poetry for so many reasons. I’ll give you just two.
First, I must make you understand that I’m very fastidious when it comes to poetry. I’m more patient with badly written prose.
Why? I’ll tell you by providing you with an instant poem.
Call it Captured.
Bring my soul home;
Let it go, let it to me come.
If my soul be tied, my body die
And if I die, I die without a sigh….
(Poetic!? But, honestly, I don’t even have a clear picture of what I’m saying. I just think soul is subtle, supra-sensible, metaphysical. Whoever hears the word cannot treat it like it’s an object. Or judge it by the same set of rules. Like: bring my bird home).
If I had this posted somewhere, say, on Facebook or elsewhere, where I should get audience, I’d most certainly get comments like: “Wow, what a nice line!”; “…if my soul be tied, then my body die..nice one there!”….blah, blah, blah.
And all these comments won’t be wrong. Let me explain.
There’s something poets haven’t noticed. Poetry, however badly written, always pretends to say something subtle. It keeps asking the reader: “You don’t get it?”
Bring my soul home….That’s symbolism? The reader thinks. So, what’s the touchstone for determining true poetry? The clarity of the painter’s painting (image) or the readers’ starry-eyed interpretation?
That’s the first reason I hate poetry.
The second reason, in part, follows from the first: is there anyone who cannot do what I just did? Anyone who can’t be a poet?
Poetry becomes the occupation of those too afraid of the tedium of real prose:
If my soul be tied, then my body die….
That line is syntactically incorrect, the reader says. The verb die is plural.
Come on, the poet says, it’s Poetic License. Poets and Popes are alike – infallible.
I developed this wariness after reading Chinua Achebe’s Anthill of the Savannah.
If you’ve read that work, you’ll notice points where Sir Chinua got tired, and sought desperate ways of filling space; so he decided to “hooptedoodle” a bit.
He’d make Ikem, one of the main characters, write lengthy poetry every night. Nice technique? Yes. Because it doesn’t have to be coherent.
My take on Kukogho Iruesiri Samson‘s poem, IM(P)OSSIBLE?
I was quite taken with the poem, not because it had a direct message. In fact, it doesn’t have any obvious message. You don’t understand what he’s saying except you enter into his head.
That’s stanza one.
Here’s my interpretation. The writer, something of a morphologist, provides a word (impossible), tries to break it into “cranberry morphemes” (imp, possible).
Then he realizes (or is shown by a machine?) that the correct two morphemes for the word (impossible) are im- and possible.
And of these two, only one (possible) is an “unbound” morpheme (i.e., a morpheme that can stand alone as a word). Hence the last word of despair (Wimp!).
That’s stanza two.
The morphologist tries again with another word (Failure). He breaks it into fail and lure.
Wrong. Failure is a morpheme, not two. Hence the last line (Wail!).
The third stanza.
The writer succeeds this time, breaking achievable into two correct unbound morphemes: achieve and able.
Hence the positive exclamation: Receive!
Sort of moralizes over the writer’s efforts: “If you strive, you’ll thrive”.
IM(P)OSSIBLE is not a sonnet (maybe a pseudo sonnet), although it has the structure and rhyme scheme of a Shakespearean sonnet – three quatrains and a couplet, rhyming a-b-a-b, c-d-c-d, g-g.
Sonnets, aside from their structures, rhyme schemes and number of lines, stick to strict decasyllabic lines written in iambic pentameter.
IM(P)OSSIBLE, however, doesn’t even bother with meter at all. Rather, with morphemes.
It’s not a sonnet. Not a free verse, either. Novelty, maybe. Unique. Kukogho-ian.
Guy, I don tire. Make I run drink water. I’m out.
EDITORS NOTE: Sir Prospero O. Anuforo is a literary enthusiast and a writer, well known on literary platforms on Facebook.
He has a page where he appreciates literature and writers.
One thought on “WHY I HATE POETRY: Image or Interpretation?”
ANALYSIS OF IM(P)OSSIBLE by the poet himself.
[In the first stanza, I took a journey into the meaning of Impossible:
IMP as a noun is a demon that has wings
IMP as a verb means to give wings to someone or make a demon out of someone..
The Idea I had was that, striving in the face of challenges requires some devilry atimes [hence an IMP] and then you can try to FLY over them….
When you do that, all becomes possible.
But even in the face of the possibility of success through determination, some people withdraw, those are WIMPS]
When challenges come, we begin to see failure…we sometime think we will FAIL, it even LURES you in to surrender and accept the failure.
If you allow it to drag you in, you will WAIL!]
[Now Achievable..a contrast to the preceding stanza on Failure and its lures
If you have something you seek and you really believe to ACHIEVE
it is something you are ABLE to do in the face of challenges, then you will RECEIVE success in the end.
[So at the end of it all, I concluded that what you STRIVE for will THRIVE
Its a given]
So, this poem is a sonnet. A modern form of sonnet with many poets, especially Seymour Mayne…
You all should read up on it.