”Poetry is more, it is not only what gives meaning to existence but also what explains the inexplicable depth of such existence”.

The authenticity of creativity, whether it be absolute or relative to the interpretation of others is something often argued by creative minds and critics. What I do know for sure is that there are creative works that surpass human reasoning and understanding. Those kind of creative works will direct my thought in this writing. On what premise should one judge what is creative and what isn’t? Is it in its literalness or fantasy based imageries?

Have you ever read a piece of writing or poetry and wonder where the poet or writer penetrated to produce such piece of writing? Have you ever wondered why some works of art have refused to go extinct? The ineffaceability of such works only leave us to wonder why. Their relevance to contemporary literature and to writers cannot be overstated as many contemporary writers have built their philosophies and style on the writings of such writers.

True creative writing is never birthed out of mere imagination or just a desire to write. Poetry is one form of art that expresses not only the writer’s experience but truths and philosophies. No wonder Aristotle regards poetry as the purest form of truth in place of history and philosophy. Poetry is a combination of not just philosophy, history (that can be interpreted as the poet’s experience) but also Truth. Truth is not to mean what is only literally true but Truth from a deeper dimension of the universal depth of all things.

Writers of profundity as Rumi, Chinua Achebe, Gabriel Okara, Robert Frost, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Hafiz, Paulo Coelho, Maya Angelou, William Ernest Henley, Langston Hughes, just to mention a few didn’t just write out of mere creativity built on fantasies or imaginations but from a deeper plane of their consciousness. As much as poetry is about metaphors, it is also about truth, truths that can easily reverberate in others irrespective of their beliefs, race or background.

For a poet to write with such depth, the poet must first be deepened, that is, the poet must seek to know beyond his or herself, must question the universe and everything he or she doesn’t understand. The poet must be an honest seeker of the Truth and the way of life, not a curious seeker but an honest one. Poets are believed to have depth because they traverse time, form and space to draw from the unknown to bring to the known. That’s why metaphor is an important component of poetry. In poetry is embed great wisdom, philosophy, Truth and esotericism.

Simplicity is also a gauge in judging what is shallow or of depth. Simplicity and brevity is a beautiful component in poetry and in any kind of writing. No surprise most mystics and spiritual writers explain Truth in simple lines and verses void of ambiguity and complexities. Sacred books are good examples of the beauty, unfussiness and profoundness of poetry. Rumi, a mystical poet wrote a poem that reads thus;

I said,

“O sweet Beloved,

you are the refuge of my soul.”

He said, “If you belong to me,

don’t talk of your own soul.”

I said, “Why do you cut me

with your sharp words?”

He said, “My words wouldn’t hurt you

if you weren’t in love with yourself.”

Simple yet weighty, revealing the vanity of the human soul seeking all things for itself, attached to form and ownership of even a loved one, forgetting that love isn’t in ownership but in liberation. Forgetting that being in love is to be lost in the object of love. That it is to be dead to self and alive only in love.

Such depth don’t come out of mere imagination but in being and knowing. Knowing here isn’t knowledge, but the constant flow of revelation that streams through the poet because he or she is deepened in what is true, pure and bigger than the writer.

Some believe poetry is just about word play, rhythm and rhymes. Well I Know poetry is more, it is not only what gives meaning to existence but also what explains the inexplicable depth of such existence. Poetry reveals truth in its depth and simplicity, and a Poet should understand that he or she isn’t just a writer but a teacher, revealer of hidden wisdom, a reminder of Truth and also an entertainer.

This is just my forte on poetry, nothing absolute about it.

By Andrew Patience (AP)

apAndrew patience fondly called AP is a Nigerian Poet, spoken word artist and OAP.

She writes from the depth of her being, and not in a hurry to publish any book yet.

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1 Comment

  • Jennifer
    April 18, 2016 at 10:57 pm

    Honest words


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COAL’s mission is to support and provide opportunities for budding writers in Africa to develop their creative independent voices and to explore careers in professional writing. To help creative writers and spoken word artists realise their literary dreams by providing platforms for their self expression. .........



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