Why Bother With Poetry?

Because there’s a drop, on a leaf, and it seems to weigh a hundred pounds, but it’s not falling, and you are amazed, and you want to help it along but you just watch dumbstruck instead as the morning sun brings forth some back light and still you wait, it’s almost unbearable, this wonder, this anticipation, this incipience, and someone really should write a poem about it.

So you see if someone has.

Because entire civilizations of ants are at your feet, in the garden dirt, scurrying.

Because of them.

Because of vultures mad with the sight of the fresh-felled antelope, and the lion who has finally yawned and stretched and left it behind.

Because of the flaps of a million wings, and a thousand camera clicks trying to capture them.

Because sometimes you get to bursting, and you try to find a word or three and all that tumbles forth is, “Wow, that’s so great!” But you know that won’t cut it.

Maybe poetry will.

Because words hit their limit sometimes, they can’t get their arms around the enormity of the vision you have felt or beheld, and you lapse into silence.

And then you find the poem about the silence after words, and you are moved to say a word after all: “Perfect.”

Because only poetry will stick its neck out and offer itself to the world when all other words shrink from the task.

Because poetry betrays our shoulder shrugs, gives the lie to our nonchalance.

Because poetry fills the silence between the shout and the echo.

Because poetry makes music, even without a tune.

Because poetry pierces and professes.

Protests and points.




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Twitter: @AndrewHidas

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Deep appreciation to photographer Elizabeth Haslam, whose photos grace the rotating banner at the top of this page. Some rights reserved under Creative Commons licensing, see more at:

Leaf drop photo by Marg, Brisbane, Australia, some rights reserved under Creative Commons licensing, see more at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/play4smee/

Photo of boat in lake by Roberto Trombetta, Venice, Italy, some rights reserved under Creative Commons licensing, see more at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/massimo_riserbo/

2 comments to Why Bother With Poetry?

  • joan voight (@shapelygrape)  says:

    “Gives the lie to our nonchalance.”
    Especially in this digital age.
    It’s calming to read this with my morning tea…thanks Andrew

    • amy  says:

      i love this
      …because it feels true.

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