Poetry is a word that sometimes comes to our ears when we think of old time recollections from high school: in those days, our language teachers used to compel us to read poems from the nineteenth century that we would then analyze and comment on in order to get our dearest diploma. Not always a pleasant moment (a little bit complicated for a seventeen or eighteen-year-old teenager to understand anything to lyrical poetry and poetic license). For those who have a good memory, the 2014 A level session in France was a perfect example of what we are saying: candidates had to comment on a poem by Victor Hugo called “Crépuscule” (Twilight in English). And many of them did not get it, as you can see here.
Poetry is also the typical word that comes to many people’s mind as soon as they have to talk about something which is both wistful and deeply beautiful. A movie will be poetic, a painting will be filled up with poetry, anything can be related to poetry. Actually, this is not completely wrong, and yet too many people tend to resort to this “poetry” word whenever they have to describe something somewhat linked with beauty.
If we associate poetry with positive things such as beauty and feelings, we can thus suppose that poetry is something that is quite praised by society. Something that is read, commented on, appreciated, shared, and perpetually reinvented. Mistake! Some people do read poetry, but they are not many (and it has probably always been like that). Ask people around you, you will get words like “old-fashioned”, “square” or “boring”. Indeed, poetry is a kind of reading that demands efforts, time and concentration. And we are cruelly lacking time.
Poetry surrounds us but we do not take the time to consider it. Poetry and life are narrowly related. Your childhood is poetry, just like your friendships. Love and sadness can be turned into poems that will mean something to you. We share the same episodes of life on this earth, and we try to retranscribe them the best we can, either in writing, drawing, singing or any other way. Boredom, trips, time, nature, religion is poetry. Even death is poetry. The simple fact to figure out that you will not live forever, that you will pass away one day, should make you consider your remaining life differently. You will see poetry everywhere!