Happy Hour Discurso »« Taking the Naturopaths Out to the Woodshed

Poem o’ the Day

A lot of people ask what poetry is. What makes a poem? Is it rhyme, rhythm, something else? Two poets, one Chinese and one Spanish, attempt an answer.

Hu Shih says:

Dream and Poetry

It’s all ordinary experience,
All ordinary images.
By chance they emerge in a dream,
Turning out infinite new patterns.

It’s all ordinary feelings,
All ordinary words.
By chance they encounter a poet,
Turning out infinite new verses.

Once intoxicated, one learns the strength of wine,
Once smitten, one learns the power of love:
You cannot write my poems
Just as I cannot dream your dreams.

Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer seems to laugh at the very question:

Rhyme 21

¿Qué es poesía?, dices mientras clavas
en mi pupila tu pupila azul.
¡Qué es poesía! ¿Y tú me lo preguntas?
Poesía eres tú.


(What is poetry? you say while you pierce
my eyes with your blue eyes.
What is poetry! And you ask me this?
Poetry is you.)

Comments