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Poetry: A Window to the Soul?

May 23rd, 2013 by Dexter Findley

"Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words" - Robert Frost

Poetry is a singular art form, caught somewhere between writing and painting, music and sculpture. It has musical resonance, vivid descriptions and emotion at its core. The greatest poems move something within us, paying testament to our shared human experience. Take the following, by Robert Frost:

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake

The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake.

The only other sound's the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

- Robert Frost, Stopping By Wood on a Snowy Evening

Four stanzas, four lines each. Roughly seven words in each one. But those words contain a beautiful, if not somewhat haunting picture. We feel the chill of the flake on the harness, the muted silence of the snow. Who is this man? Where is he riding to, where did he come from? What is it about the woods that is so compelling to him?

Is there another meaning to the poem, a more fundamental one? Some have suggested that its an allegory for desiring death, only to acknwoledge one's responsibilities to the living. Others think its just a pretty picture. But which one's right?

In my opinion, it's like a rorschach test. Make of the poem what you will, because in the end, what you say about it says more about you than it does it. This is the joy of poetry: its multifaceted nature, it ability to be interpreted on any level you wish. it's not just a window to the writer's soul, but to the reader's as well.

Tags: poetry
Categories: poetry
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