Poetry is a very personal experience which differs for each individual. It varies also between the ones who read it and the ones who compose it. For the poet, it is a purging of raw emotion, a catharsis of sorts. True, heartfelt poetry comes directly from the heart. Without feeling to give it wings, it will never fly. For the reader, it is just the opposite. The experience can be likened to an empty vessel being filled to overflowing. When I read a poem that moves me, emotion floods through my being, into my very soul. In that moment, I achieve commiseration with the writer of the work. I feel as they must have felt when penning it.
I have always wanted to write, yet felt poetry was beyond my grasp. The rhyme schemes, metrical patterns, etc. intimidated me greatly. I struggled with short stories and made plans for the novel that never materialized. It wasnít until my thirtieth year, that the beauty of poetry suddenly occurred to me. I was lying in bed, unsuccessfully attempting sleep because my brain refused to quit pondering some problem which plagued me, when words started to flow into my mind. I repeated them to myself and realized, they formed a poem. It was very brief and did not rhyme, but a poem, nonetheless. Quickly, I arose and after finding pen and paper, wrote them down. I do not know that some would consider what I write true poetry, but it is born of my sincere feelings and often acts as therapy for lifeís growing pains. I now consider poetry a precious gift to be treasured.
Poetry takes many different forms. For some it might be found in the way the sun scorches the surface of the rich ebony pavement, making it look wet as fast, shiny, cars wend their way to destinations unknown, chasing the mirage, but never catching it, or, in the way the sun reflects on the silver surface of a jet causing it to glitter and sparkle like a gemstone as it climbs high above the billowy cloud tops. For others it might be provided by the caress of a loved one or the tinkling laughter of a child. I myself find poetry in almost every aspect of life. For example, the transition of color which the ocean water goes through as it nears the shore, from the deepest royal, to aegean, to cerulean, then aqua, where it caresses the shoreline with a sigh, teasing as it dances there for a moment then pulls back again. And, in the sensation of a gentle summer breeze sweetened with the scent of brightly colored flowers in bloom.
In my opinion, poetry is emotion. It is sometimes used to convey an opinion, communicate a sentiment, or get a point across, but, sometimes it just is. For this reason, I feel it should not be overly analyzed. I fear that sometimes, in their efforts to read meanings that donít exist into a poetís work, critics often lose the whole point. Some things are simple and should be left just as they are without being picked apart by well meaning but misguided reviewers. For the reader to feel the passion and to see the beauty, that is most often the intention of the poet.
In conclusion, it can be said that there is no single meaning of poetry, there is a myriad of meanings. The message of any particular piece should be left up to the individual reader or poet. For, if one is forced to see one thing when they feel another, the poem will not suggest as much to them as it would if they could draw their own conclusions and relate it to some area of their own life and experiences.