What is poetry 4 — Creative expression

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

The poem, ‘‘i thank You God for this most amazing’’ by E.E. Cummings is one of my favorite poems. Free of punctuation and rigid structure, it thanks God for his influence on nature and the poet asks whether he or anyone else can compare to him. It will provide an introduction for the final segment of the series, ‘‘What is Poetry?’’: Creative Expression.

Most of us see poetry as being similar to most female fashion, it must stick to the rules and try not to be so rebellious. However, there are certain forms of poetry that are maverick and do not stick to the rule limiting a poem to a single idea. This form of poetry is called abstract poetry. The basic idea of abstract poetry is that it can not be literally interpreted and is chosen more for sound than meaning. It may contain streams-of-consciousness and unusual images that force the reader to think about what they are reading.

Here is an example of abstract poetry from the final stanza of T.S. Eliot’s poem The Hollow Men:

Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o’clock in the morning.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

In essence, a poem like this could be considered an example of ‘secondary’ poetry, in which the poet has reached the hight of his or her craft and has moved away from the simplicity and restriction of ‘primary poetry’ they may have learned in elementary and high school such as:


It is rainy and grey.

I hope and pray

I can go out and play.

But I’ll have to stay inside today

‘Cause it’s rainy and grey.

If poetry is meant to be a creative expression, I feel that it should be brave enough to break the rules, test the boundaries of form and, if necessary, oust grammar from its versed equation like the first poem has done but at the same time not burying its message under a worded marsh-pit. With proper restraint in tandem with some of the unbreakable rules of poetry(having a subject in every stanza or half-stanza is one) new movements, styles and formats can be born that appease purists and mavericks alike.

One thought on “What is poetry 4 — Creative expression

  1. Apologies for the length of time it took to send this post out — Senior year can be very demanding.
    Thanks to all that have read and liked the posts over the course of this series. Your response makes being a blogger worthwhile.


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