To help explain my love of poetry, I’ll open with the first poem I’ve ever written. I couldn’t tell you when exactly I wrote it (at least 10-12 years ago) and I’ve clipped most of it because, well, it’s pretty rough, but I hold it close because the words still feel as heavy as when the ink first dried.
Dreams can be a release from the realistic view,
They can allow a different light to shine through.
But in the waking world, that light burns out,
imagination is nothing but a word used by school teachers.
The only chance I have to live is in my dreams,
there, the difference between reality and make-believe
become nothing but a matter of acceptance.
I can be happy, I can be loved, I can be myself,
if only in my dreams.
When I was younger, I didn’t really fit in with any group and embraced early on the practice of spending time away from others. I became accustomed to entertaining myself. I was safe at home, even safer in my dreams. I would often dream fantastic stories that would “wake me up,” so to speak. I was accepted, loved, and alive. But by indulging, I heavily relied on the unreal for happiness. I wrote that poem after realizing how much I lived behind those walls, caged by my own mind.
Now, I write poems to be set free from emotions that may otherwise paralyze me and prevent me from interacting with others. I don’t want to mistake feeling for living, and getting those thoughts out helps me recognize the difference.
I do write on other platforms that are more of a private journal, but keeping a journal does not scratch the same itch poetry does. Poetry convolutes the message in some ways (for some people), but it better matches the complexities of the mind in my opinion. To me, a poem can scream emotion, while a diary lets out more of a whisper. I feel something more through poetry. Each word is so thoughtfully chosen, and each rhyme is so finely tuned that when you’re done, you wonder how you could’ve ever organized it any other way. If I don’t feel better after the last line is written, then that poem isn’t finished. A diary can be sloppy, but a poem, makes you figure your shit out before you publish. There is always resolution at the end of a poem. And that allows me to sleep soundly…