What is Poetry?

What is Poetry

But a quest

And a question

Without an answer.


But, yes. Seriously. What is it? Anybody who bothers to read my mostly silly posts will note that I frequently resort to very simple little rows of rhyming lines in order to get attention. I’ve been doing it since I was about twelve and have never really grown out of it. I have never matured into a poet, in other words. So I am reluctant, for the most part, to refer to this stuff as poetry, though it does, by some standards, fit the definition. Just for the record, though, rhythm is far more important to me than rhyme.

But I am not a poet. I aspire to be one, perhaps. But not one who writes poetry. If that makes sense.

So I am a bit confused with stuff I read that just seems to be rows of lines with no obvious rhyme or rhythm but rather more defined by not being presented as prose. As though hitting the return key at the end of every sentence (or even mid-sentence, better still) and omitting a word here or there to add some obscurity transforms a page of words into poetry.

I’m sorry.

It doesn’t.

It might not be prose

But that don’t

Make it poetry.

Most likely though I am missing something. I would like someone to explain it all to me. I’m serious.

Have a look at this …

Three o’clock in February

All the sky was blue and high

Banners and bunting

And people bunched up between

Greetings and sadness

I did not write the words above. I wish that I had. Is it beautiful? Sad? Thought provoking? I believe so.

But is it poetry?

No, it is not.

It is, in fact, the very first paragraph of a book written by J.P. Donleavy.

With the return key interfering.

If I had actually written those words I would be some way to considering myself a poet. But I would not claim to have written poetry.

25 thoughts on “What is Poetry?

    1. And monologues are good. Haiku I’m not so sure about. I suspect that it is another bit of eastern culture/philosophy/expression that we in the west have latched onto without really understanding. Buddhism is another one.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. who said poetry has to rhyme? I rarely rhyme, but I still consider what I do as poetry. it’s what you say, and how it suits you and your readers, not necessarily because it rhymes.


    1. I agree. It doesn’t have to rhyme. In fact there should be no rules attached to anything you write. It is all about getting a message across.
      My issue is with applying the word ‘poetry’ to stuff that clearly isn’t (or maybe it isn’t clear at all) and hoping that it implies a certain credibility.

      But, of course, it doesn’t have to rhyme. Some little jingles I do rhyme a bit, but that’s because, as I have said, I’ve never really progressed beyond the 12 year old boy passing notes to the girl 2 desks away.


  2. My words don’t always
    agree to rhyme.
    They do, by mistake
    from time to time…
    Not really poetry, yet
    not your usual prose,
    what I actually do
    nobody really knows…
    But they are there
    and they are free
    building bridges
    between you and me…
    Taking me places
    of my very own,
    where I can grow wings
    or wear a shiny crown…
    I reckon that with words
    I can be quite clumsy
    but all I have is words,
    and all they have is me!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. That’s like when I asked my husband if he loved me, 39+ years down the line.  “Love is the morning and the evening star” he replied, not from original writing but from “Elmer Gantry” which irritated me to no end.

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android


  4. It’s all your fault. I was going to sleep and thought of your post here and have my answer in Etheree form, I hope:

    Written words
    Beguiled and paused
    As author sees fit
    It may not be rhymed
    And not posed as a prose
    But whoever reads and writes a


  5. Okay, completely goofed up, will start again….😱
    Written words
    Beguiled and paused
    As author sees fit
    May not even be rhymed
    But may have certain time
    Might not be passed as a prose
    But taking the effort to write
    Deserves certain respect if you please
    Not all is supposed to rhyme– not my style
    **That’s harder than rhyming and I would say forget it, but you’re probably dine by now anyway 🙄🤪🙈🤢


    1. Ha ha! No, that’s very clever! And let me stress again that I don’t think it has to rhyme. Rhyming seems a bit childish, somehow.
      I just worry when people give poetry far more credit than it deserves.
      And it’s not about being clever, either, of course.
      I think it’s about expressing something that cannot be adequately expressed in any other way. And I’ve certainly never achieved that.

      I don’t know what it is really. But I have a fair idea of what it isn’t.


    1. And now I’m digging a hole for myself.
      It’s just the ‘Oh, wow! Far out man! That is so deep, man. Like it’s got like three different meanings!’ When the reality is that it doesn’t have any meaning and it’s not even pretty.
      And who is this Rumi dude? Oh, please, give me a break ….


  6. Im the one that dug the hole. But thanks for that….I still use man, neato, cool, amazing, and I use great way too much, when I want to say something is very good.🤓


  7. I’m sure we’ve all written bad poems. It’s going to happen, right? I’m trying to remember my worst poem… well, there was a haiku I wrote:

    Frosty lit a match.
    It’s called snowman suicide.
    Drip, drip-drip… drip-drip.

    HA HA H AH AHA! Ohhhh nooooo!!!!!!!!!

    Liked by 3 people

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