How is Poetry different

‘Tangled up in Blue’ – yamabuki
“Black and enduring separation
I share equally with you.
Why weep? Give me your hand,
Promise me you will come again.
You and I are like high mountains 
And we can’t move closer.
Just send me word at midnight 
Sometime through the stars.”
— Anna Akhmatova
What is Poetry
Poetry is creation
Yet Prose is creation too
So what makes Poetry different
Let’s see what Poetry
Says about itself
Poetry speaks to the soul
So does other writing
Poetry speaks with images
So does other writing
Poetry speaks in rhyme
So does other writing
Poetry speaks with rhythm
So does other writing
Poetry speaks with stanzas
So does other writing
Poetry speaks of the unspeakable
So does other writing
On and on goes the list
And still we’re no more the wiser
Poetry can make use of 
Any written form
Used by prose
Any definition of Poetry
Can apply to other forms of writing
So how do we recognize Poetry
When we see it or hear it
How is Poetry different
I’m not sure that there is an answer
A definitive answer to Poetry
Perhaps this is itself an answer
Or perhaps a meta-answer
To the question of 
How is Poetry different
Poetry is different in a way
That cannot be defined with words
Poetry slips through our hands
Like water through a sieve
Like smoke and mirrors
It fools us into thinking
We know what we are seeing
But when we try to pin it down
It disappears
Poetry defies our formulas
Poetry defies our programs
Poetry defies our learning
Poetry, like art is creation
Poetry, like art is dangerous
Poetry, like art can not be pinned down
Why then am I writing about Poetry
A Poem cannot define Poetry
But a Poem can explore
A Poem can reverberate
A Poem can reflect
But not just any reflection
Sometimes when I go swimming
I will stand in the water
With only my head above the water
And watch the watery reflections
I’m tempted to say that
Poetry is like the reflections
There may even be some truth to that
But I’m more inclined to see
That Poetry is much like
The surface of water
That indefinable transition
Where water meets air
The surface of water
May be smooth as glass
Or turbulent as boiling water
Or somewhere in between
But the transition
Is always sustained
Yet no matter how closely we look
We can never fully define
Where the water stops
And the air begins
Or so it seems to me
Imagine that there is a transition
Between Poetry and prose writing
When we look closely
We are hard pressed
To know where one begins
And the other ends.
Perhaps this is a good thing
Perhaps one day
Every word will be a poem
Perhaps one day
Every thought will be a poem
Perhaps one day
Poetry will disappear
And the world will end
Perhaps one day
Poetry will not be different
Jan 2011

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