The Mystery Of Poetry
Lea Docken

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P oetry is a song of life and love, like a marble sculpture chiseled with the warmth of a David. Poetry is like the beauty from the ethereal esoteric depths of life and death found in a painting. Poetry is the mystery of happiness and despair, mysticism shrouded in words. Definitions of poetry are subjective ranging from the technical to the esoteric. Poetic verse can bring us down to the dark depths of depression or up to the highest mountaintop. As poets, we run the emotional gauntlet with words.

There are those who say poets are born not made. However, a poet is someone who has the courage to reach deep inside and expose him or herself. You must be brave enough to expose the inner dark secrets of the soul and sing about the sunlight of life. Only then are you a poet.

Exposure is not easy. The Muse asks for sacrifice and we make the offerings. We listen quietly to hear her call. We open old wounds and bleed to please her. At night when we are resting she comes to us. During the day when we are busy she draws near. Accepting the Muse will bring tears as well as joy. Your poetic verse will sing with ecstasy from the inner depths of your being.

Pen and paper are the tools of the poet, as much as paint and canvas are the tools of an artist. I use pen and paper to write ideas, doodle to help me think, rhyme words, cross out, rewrite, rearrange words or change the words until I have a poem. Beginning again, sculpting the poem until it is finished, then and only then do I transfer the poem to my computer. I do my work in progress in a writing journal to keep for future reference. I also keep a printed hard copy from my computer. I live by the rule "Save everything because you never know what you will need!"

Pull your ideas from a story or your daily journal, write about an incident which happened, write how you feel, describe your surroundings, write a poem about your memories of childhood.

Themes for poetry are many and varied. Pen, paper, words, and the Muse will bring your verse to life. Write one or two words in the first line, continue to associate one word with another. Soon, you will have a poem. I wrote a poem while listening to a lecturer at a writing seminar. The name of the poem, Bored. What else? Another began with a story I was trying to write about the death of my step-grandfather. The story was not coming together. A friend suggested I change the story to a poetic form. I played around with the words in my heart until "The Accident", one of my most honored poems, came into being. Both poems were born out of frustration and need. Both came from inside, one a bit silly and the other dark and sad.

Call to your Personal Muse. Let her inspire your verse. Have courage and expose the hidden parts of your soul that lie in secret. Get out pen and paper. Begin to play with words and emotions, which live within. Very soon you will have a poem; a song, a great sculpture, a great love, a picture created with words, and more. Do not be put off by poetry. Write truthfully about what you know. Play with the words, make the words your friend. Move them around until you are satisfied with the way they flow together. I have yet to write the perfect poem the first time. There are times I move entire verses around in order to say what I want to say. We all do this when writing a story; cut a paragraph or sentence from here and place it there for a better flow; take words out, put words in, it is the same with poetry.

In future articles I will write about different poetic styles, where ideas come from, meter, and more. For now, try your hand at writing a poem. You may be surprised by how the mystery of poetry starts to unravel. Who knows? You may discover the mystery of poetry is no mystery at all.

Lea Docken earned two BAs in Psychology and Elementary Ed.and is a graduate of the Iowa Writer's Project. At present is writing a ten installment pre-history fantasy romance for a website, owns the Internet Fantasy Writers Association, and is poetry columnist for @writers Newsletter.

email Lea at:

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| Your Health Matters | The Question Of Identity | The Creative You: Finding Your Own Way | Don't Wait, Just Do It! | | The Mystery Of Poetry | ALIVE Online | COMPUTEREASE: The Creative PC | Emerson on Creativity and Poetry |

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