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.
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:
- ¿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.)