Poetry helps us to pay closer attention to the World around us.
By "the World," I mean anything out there that we can see, hear, smell, touch, or taste.
The World does not -- I repeat: does not -- include any of the following: politics, popular entertainment, the media, sociology, psychology, and the scientific method. These are, at best, distractions. Most often, they are pernicious deceptions.
I claim absolutely no originality with respect to these observations. We all know these things. But the distractions and deceptions that surround us are seductive and powerful. Thus, for instance, it is highly likely that, this very evening, I will sit down in front of the television and watch an episode of "The World's Dumbest Criminals," "American Pickers," or "Ice Road Truckers." (I apologize to all of my non-American readers for those arcane references.)
Poetry helps us to pay closer attention to the World around us. If we let it.
I lifted from the ground my grass-pressed hand
And pondered, as its strange new lines I scanned,
What is foretold? What hope, what fear,
What strife, what passion is prefigured here?
Andrew Young, Winter Harvest (1933).
When all the reeds are swaying in the wind
How can you tell which reeds the otters bend?
Michael Longley, Selected Poems (Jonathan Cape 1998).