The Power of Poetry
Poetry doesn’t vote. It can’t rule. It sits on no juries. It signs nothing into law. It runs no companies or houses of worship. And, it never ever wins an Academy award. On all of these fronts that matter, poetry is powerless. And for that very reason, of course, it is incredibly powerful.
Poetry is our trees, our anger, your life, my death. It’s the birds that stitch air. It’s the soul of night, the feast of day, and that ever present caution that’s careless. Poetry doesn’t decide. It doesn’t provide. If it answers at all, it does so with questions. And, to be honest, poetry doesn’t care; it cares as deeply as wells do, yes, but it never brings you water. It wants nothing from you except wanting – this is probably its most gifting power.
And it soars, when allowed to, over just about anything else we can imagine. It’s not the clouds themselves so much, but our need for them. Said all at once, poetry is powerful for what it cannot be, and for the dreams it wants.
If you should ever encounter a poem that makes you jump, ask yourself why. Most likely, the answer – if there is one – will be from so far-fully inside you that ancestors will wink.
Finally, poetry is really nowhere and so it’s just about everywhere around us. It lives in the corner of your eye. It rents most all of your willingness from you. It aches with whatever is gone. And, it cheers – even raves – for what may never be. Thank goodness – and badness – for poetry, and for our never being completely sure how powerfully potent it really is.
Larew’s poems have appeared most recently in Honest Ulsterman, Amsterdam Quarterly, vox poetica, Every Day Poems, The Seminary Ridge Review, Shot Glass, Forth Magazine and Viator. He lives in Maryland, USA. His Facebook page is at https://www.facebook.com/hiramlarewpoet/