Food For Thought

What makes a poem a poem? Is it something as simple as

Or being clever about analogies – like describing yourself as a fish when you really mean to say that you feel suffocated, water on all sides?

Or being sneaky with your sounds – like the constant cacophony of koalas in the Koolibah trees?

Or being brave – like writing your life in stanzas as if there were no filter between your heart and the world?

Maybe it means living in pain, retching your most profound desires, fears, and observations onto the page without an ounce of mercy for yourself. Maybe it means living silently but writing loudly. Maybe it means never really touching the world directly, but only through analogy, and therefore occasionally suffocating in the essence of abstract concepts. Or quite the opposite, maybe the poet’s life is the life well lived. The life that seems so secretive but in truth is so tangible, so deeply seen and felt that even after a poet dies he or she is granted immortality through his or her own words.

And must a poet always use the written word of a place at the podium as a medium? If true art is poetic, including living an artful life, then couldn’t we all – each and every one of us – be poets in the making, or makers of our own poetic lives, swimming in a sea of sweat from our collective striving and divine attempts?

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