Brevity and depth in poetry?
Today I typed ‘poetry’ into Google and clicked on the top search, and did so again a few times. Quite quickly I could see that what people want is short but deep poems about life. Says it all really.
Personally, I’d like to only write short but deep poems about life, and I think I could be happy for a while reading only short but deep poems about life.
I definitely could be happy reading only short but deep poems for the rest my life... though I perhaps I would like the subject matter to vary from time to time!
Short poetry is my thing, absolutely. Even when I think I’ve written a long poem it turns out to be, at the very, very most, just 40 lines. I can’t help but feel that if you have to keep going on about it, you’ve missed the point of it. That poetry should be able to hone in on the nub of the thing within a few lines, or a stanza or two at the most. Walt Whitman kills me. Epic poetry sends me to sleep. If I have to turn the page when reading a poem, ok, but if I have to turn it twice – I've lost interest.
Maybe this is a failing, but I believe rather it’s a product of my upbringing. I’m from a tiny island waaaay up in the North Sea. Shetlanders are to the point, brutally so. I like my poetry to exhibit these qualities also.
Just wish I could tidy up the concept of ‘deep’ so easily. Perhaps I need to google some more...
The below poem was published in issue five of Eye Flash Poetry Journal
By the back door
Boots by the back door,
squew-whiff, just stepped out of,
for all the world they look like any minute
they will be off striding the hills
and peat banks again.
Only someone with keen eyes
would spot the dust. Only
someone who knows better
would wonder at them being there
still, in their stillness.